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Welcome To Sian's Message Page

Dear Friends,

Some of you will remember that a couple of months I asked the congregations of some of our parishes to complete a questionnaire. My reason for asking is that if our churches are going to grow and thrive then not only do we need Mark, to carry out his outreach and mission work but, we also, as church members already, need to play our part. However to do this we need to understand what we think about the part faith plays in our lives and about what, if anything needs to develop and expand.

The findings of the questionnaire are very interesting indeed and, for me and our clergy team, are in some respects surprising and in some respects much less so. I wondered for example, if there would be any substantial differences between town and village response and there isn't.

There is though, much food for thought and reflection so I have listed below the key findings:
  • 1 for nearly 3/4 of us our Christian journey began in childhood and was nurtured by family and/or school and/or church (including Sunday School).
  • 2 there were 15 different responses to 'What does a being a Christian mean to you?'. More than 1/5 of you think that it is about having particular qualities or attributes.
  • 3 Just under half of you try to live out your Christian lives everywhere and all of the time.
  • 4 About 1/4 of people could not respond to 'What does God love most about you?' whilst another 1/4 responded 'God loves me as I am'.
  • 5 All those who responded to the question 'Who matters to God?' (& nearly everyone didrespond) believes the everyone matters to God.
  • 6 About 1/5 of you believe that God wants you to be faithful to him and another 1/5 believe that God wants us to be helpful to others.
  • 7 In an ordinary week, just under half of you spend between 1 &10% of your time in church or being involved in faith related activities; 3/4 of you spend between 1-50% of your time thus engaged and about 1/5 of you did not respond to the question.
  • 8 So in the other 50-95% of your time 13% are at work and 43% of you are at home and/ or with family.
  • 9 Nearly 3/4 of you believe that there is a difference between being a disciple of Jesus and being a follower of Jesus. There is a commonly held view that a disciple commits the whole of life to Jesus whilst a follower is guided by Christian ideas and principles but does not commit the whole of life to Jesus.
  • 10 Nearly half of you consider yourselves to be followers and 1/4 of you are or try to be disciples.
  • 11 Half of you consider yourselves to be followers or disciples all of the time and another 1/4 of you try to be followers or disciples all the time but you think that you falter, others feel awkward or uncomfortable There are differing views on the what the fundamental purpose of the church is: 1/4 of you say that it is all about coming together in fellowship to worship and about 1/5 say the purpose is to spread the gospel.

    I hope you agree that these findings are both interesting and a wonderful starting point for us all.

    Eastertide is in essence a time for new beginnings and new life so let us begin the journey together, towards new life in our churches.

    Revd Sian