Coronavirus, Church and You survey
Introducing a survey that's assessing responses to the Covid-19 crisis among churchgoers in the UK - and is seeking responses from Baptists
By The Revd Professor Andrew Village and the Revd Canon Professor Leslie J. Francis
The Covid-19 pandemic has obviously had a profound effect on churches. The lockdown has severely restricted ministry in areas such as pastoral care, fellowship groups, and serving the community. On the other hand, for those with online access, worship has taken on new and creative forms over the last few weeks. Many clergy and ministry teams have risen to the challenge of operating in the virtual environment.
As we pass the most severe period of lockdown, it seems a good time to assess how churchgoers have responded to the experience, and what they think the future might hold. How well have people coped with the pandemic? Has it strengthened or weakened their faith? How has it been for clergy and ministry teams trying to work in this new environment? How have those receiving ministry found this novel experience? Will virtual ministry become part of the post-pandemic landscape, and will this be a good move for your church?
We have developed a survey over the last few weeks in discussion with church leaders and lay people which we hope will enable you to record your experience of the pandemic, the ministry you have given or received, and what you think will happen to churches in a post-pandemic world. We initially aimed the survey at the Church of England, but other denominations have begun using it, and we have tried to make the language and questions relevant to any denomination. In an article to launch the survey in the Church Times, the Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, wrote, 'This survey is an attempt to go beyond anecdote… It will capture evidence of both excitement and fears for the future, of where stress levels have changed, and whether personal faith has weakened or grown.'
This is an online survey, which we estimate it will take you about 20-30 minutes to complete. Most of the questions simply require you to tick boxes, though there are options to specify your particular circumstances, and an opportunity at the end for you to tell us your views in your own words. Alongside questions about the pandemic and ministry there are sections which ask about you: these are important because they will allow us to see how the lockdown is affecting different sorts of people in different contexts.
The survey can be completed on mobile phones, though it is more quickly completed on devices with larger screens such as tablets or computers. You can access using the following link: https://tinyurl.com/ycsq9fy2
Please forward this link to any churches or churchgoers you feel might want to take part in the survey and support this research. We should have some initial results within a few weeks and will make these available as widely as we can.
The Revd Professor Andrew Village, York St John University firstname.lastname@example.org
The Revd Canon Professor Leslie J. Francis, Visiting Professor York St John University