Church invites congregations to take part in major survey

‘What Counts?’ is the question being asked by Mission Statistics co-ordinator, Rev Dr Fiona Tweedie

The Church of Scotland is launching a major survey to understand the size and impact of its congregations in parishes the length and breadth of Scotland.

'What Counts?' is the question being asked by Mission Statistics co-ordinator, Rev Dr Fiona Tweedie.

Fiona, who is an expert statistician, is designing what will be large scale information gathering exercise for the Church.

Fiona says: "For years we have asked congregations to tell us the number of members and elders, yet the impact of our congregations in their communities goes far beyond that. 'What Counts?' is an exciting opportunity for us to find out what people are doing right across Scotland!"

As a first step towards discovering the effect our congregations are having, Fiona wants to hear views from across the Church at all levels:

*What congregational information would help you do your work?
*How would you collect that data?

For congregations, Fiona is also asking:

*What do you want to tell the wider Kirk?

The answers Fiona receives will help shape the survey which will be piloted this December. The pilot will be followed up with formal suggestions for change being offered to the General Assembly in 2016 before the full survey is conducted.

'What Counts?' is being described as an important initiative for the future of the Church by the Moderator of the General Assembly, Rt Rev John Chalmers.

He says: "During my Moderatorial year I have witnessed first-hand the energy and dynamism of many congregations who draw on significant numbers of volunteers to make a real difference in their communities.

"I have also noticed the number of people withdrawing from their physical communities into the world of social media and we must reach out to them too. Collecting more accurate data on the wide scope of our Church will present us with challenges as well as opportunities, and we must be ready for them. This is an initiative we must all do our best to help make succeed."

Fiona is seeking all comments and responses to her questions to be sent by email to , or posted to her at Mission Statistics, Church Offices, George St, Edinburgh EH2 4YN.