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General Synod Survey shows need to increase awareness

ATTITUDES TO THE “THANKSGIVING SERVICE” 

As mentioned elsewhere on our web site the only increasing statistic of increase in Christian initiation has been in the growth o  Not much – but a little! 

Subjective evidence on the “Thanksgiving Service for the Birth of a Child”. indicated  that although appreciated as a valuable pastoral approach where sensitively presented, relatively few parishes had tried it seriously as a supplement or alternative to infant baptism – and even less congregations were even aware of its existence. 

So as part of our ongoing research, we recently carried out a survey of attitudes to the Thanksgiving Service.    To find a balanced sample is always difficult, but with two of our Committee members on General Synod, it occurred to us that the method of election to Synod by Single Transferable Vote means its membership should be as representative as any sample.   So we issued a 60 second survey to all clerical and lay members of synod (not Archdeacons and others – yet!”).  This proved the case about the sample with equally responses from lay and clerical and a good spread amongst church tradition and type of parish.  All clergy were in parish ministry.

We are still analysing the statistics – helpful many responders agreed to talk the issues through so we will ultimately have information in depth.   However the key findings are below.   As with all statistical exercises caution needs to be exercised in interpretation! 

1.               Only 18% use the service “regularly” but 22% use it “sometimes”

2.               However 65% consider the service should be “actively promoted” – and interestingly this figure includes 10% of those who “never” use it.

3.               The highest usage (“Regularly”, “Sometimes” and “Rarely”) appears to be in Suburban areas (37%), and as might be expected rural areas least (20%).

4.               Among those parishes where Thanksgiving is used “never” or “rarely” there is little correlation with church tradition, though liberal and “other” traditions represent 44%;  but interestingly over half consider the services should be actively promoted.

5.               There had been very little discussion on the services beyond PCCs (30%)  with 10% having had Chapter, 4% and Deanery and only on Diocesan Synod

6.               The trend for both Thanksgiving and Infant Baptisms was “steady” 

We will continue to update you as we complete this and other ongoing research.

    For more details of the Thanksgiving "Option" click here

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