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.
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?
A survey (devised by The Revd Professor Andrew Village at York St John University and The Revd Canon Professor Leslie J. Francis, Visiting Professor York St John University, in discussion with bishops, clergy and lay people) will 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.
The online survey is available here and will take you about 20-30 minutes to complete.
Writing in the Church Times, Bishop David supported the survey. He said
"I have heard and read many heart-warming stories of local churches and their members. Everywhere, leaders and disciples are both taking on fresh ministries and finding new ways to do familiar things — from the A of advice services to the Z of Zoomed fellowship groups.
"I am also aware of those who are struggling spiritually, feeling the loss of churchgoing as a deep bereavement. Many clergy are also undertaking demanding pastoral ministry among the sick and bereaved, in particularly distressing circumstances.
"This survey is an attempt to go beyond anecdote and hear the voices of those Christians, in numbers. Respondents will describe the things that they are doing, how and with whom they are undertaking these engagements, and what the experience of both ministry and life under lockdown feels like."