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When I survey 30 May 2007

Posted by Dr Moose in Faith, Grumbles, Life.
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Not the title of the Easter hymn, but simply one of many titles I could have found for this post (and probably the safest).

I may, or may not, have mentioned recently that I needed to do a survey in MLPK about the need and desire for some sort of church/community building. The content of the questions and the strategy of sampling were broadly agreed, and two weeks or so ago the questionnaires went out.

The 5 questions asked whether a dedicated centre for Christian Worship would be helpful, whether additional community facilities would be useful as part of it, whether people would be willing to make a financial contribution, ideas for a suitable place, and because other local ministers asked, whether local churches met the respondents “spiritual needs.” For each there were “Yes”, “No” and “Don’t Know” tickboxes, with space for additional comments.

174 were delivered over the 100 or so streets, using a systematic sample, going to the same house numbers on each street. Although I’m not totally sure of the total number of letterboxes in MLPK that represents somewhere between five and ten percent of all households. That makes it a pretty good sample rate if my memory is correct.

Ten points for questionnaire return were provided, in schools, gym, pub, coffee shop, doctors’ surgery, supermarket, community hall, golf club as well as the vicarage. Just about anywhere that anyone in MLPK might reasonably visit in a normal fortnight.

I have only two collection boxes left to bring in (from the schools) – and I already know the sort of number of responses in one of them.

Given that, and knowing that a response of about 30% is generally regarded as a good one (53 of the questionnaires distributed), how many do you think I’ve got back?

100?

75?

Taking my cue from Abraham (Genesis 18) how many do you think?

50?

45?

40?

30?

20?

10?

The Answer….

… wait for it…

2.

That’s right: 2.

1.15% of the total survey.

I had expected to be disappointed. I had expected to not reach a significant threshold. But 2! And, of course, to add insult to injury the one location I’d suspected might return the most response (the temple to bodily perfection) can’t find the return box. In other words whoever I spoke to either couldn’t care less or didn’t have the authority to give me permission to install the box in the first place.

I don’t know whether to cry, seethe, rant or just despair at the minute.

Am I living in Sodom? (Possibly). Apathy City? (Absolutely)

I already knew that the Church of England, even Christian faith, is of marginal value here in MLPK, and nationally I suspect, but any illusions I had have been blown away again.

So, if you responded, thank you. Oh, and by the way, to say to the question “Do you feel the local churches meet your spiritual needs?” that you “have not explored them” is more telling than you think. MLPK in a nutshell. A practical statement that says “we have no spiritual needs, thank you.”

In the week after Pentecost I’m sorely tempted to ask God to let the fire fall, and the fire of Genesis 19) not the fire of the Spirit.

In the mean time maybe I need to find another job. Door to door double-glazing sales, perhaps?

Meanwhile I’ll take my cue from The Animals:

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Comments»

1. John - 30 May 2007

Ouch. 😦

pax et bonum

2. Kathryn - 30 May 2007

I think it may be particularly a feature of new communities…When a former RAF base was turned into a village within the benefice where we lived before, the diocese got us to produce a similiar survey.
I think out of a larger sample we achieved 8 results, of which 5 had variations on the “If you paid me I wouldn’t dream of setting foot in any sort of church” theme.
But it seems to me things change once the community is more settled…specifically, I wonder if there’s something around the creation of holy ground where dead are buried that impacts??
But oh, how miserable for you.
Sympathetic hugs (and a large drink at GB)


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