Congregations invited to join 4000 churches taking part in new Scottish church census

Scottish Church Census logo

Next month congregations in the Church of Scotland will be part of the most-detailed church census to have ever taken place in Scotland.

On the weekend of Sunday 8 May, more than 4,000 congregations across Scotland will record attendances at worship as well as complete details about how this compares to five years ago, along with what kind of outreach and charity programmes they participate in.

The 24-question survey will help provide an accurate picture of trends in 21st century Scotland, comparable with the Statistics for Mission profiles so churches can informatively focus their ministry and mission.

Supported by all of the mainstream Christian denominations, it is hoped that results will be available by April 2017. The exercise follows previous censuses in 1984, 1994 and 2002.

In keeping with the times, congregations can complete their responses online at www.scottishchurchcensus.com, but hard copy forms will also be accepted by snail mail.

Rev Dr Fiona Tweedie, who has been involved in the census steering committee, said: "There have been various changes in churchgoing in recent years and it is important to find out how widespread these are in Scotland.

"It is a big study, measuring trends in churchgoing and exploring factors which are thought to lie behind some of the recent changes in churchgoing patterns.

"The results will be really important both nationally and locally, helping churches to plan strategically. Congregations will be able to identify issues specific to their area and develop appropriate strategies for evangelism and mission."

Representatives from all congregations should have received a covering letter along with the two-page questionnaire, and it is hoped that the results will be submitted before the end of May.

If you have any questions about the census, visit the Q&A section on the Scottish church census website or email Peter Brierley at peter@brierleyres.com or Fiona Tweedie at ftweedie@churchofscotland.org.uk