Who is my neighbour? - parish profiles provide answer

A pioneering new way for parishes to understand the makeup of the communities they serve has been created by the Church of Scotland.

Using results from Scotland’s Census 2011, parish profiles can now be downloaded through the Church of Scotland’s Church finder.

These profiles map the parish area and, using accessible graphs and charts, outline various features of the parish, including population life-stage, religion, ethnicity and economic activity.

The information obtained can inform decision making in congregations, Presbyteries and in the Councils of the Church, allowing parishes to enhance their service to local communities.

One of the leading minds behind the new profiles is Rev Dr Fiona J Tweedie, Digitisation Project Coordinator for the Church of Scotland.

She said: “We are delighted to give congregations across Scotland a new lens through which to view the communities they serve, allowing them to answer the gospel question “Who is my neighbour?” and to consider the question “What is good news to them?"

Providing this fresh perspective for parishes on a national scale has been a huge undertaking by the Statistics for Mission Group, which sits in the both the Ministries and Mission and Discipleship Councils.

Convener of the Statistics for Mission Group, Rev John Paterson, said the new system would be “for the betterment of the Church”.

He added: “This group has brought together the expertise of people from various fields. Credit should go to them.

“The success of the system will be dependent on how people use the tool. I believe mission should be intentional. The information we have made available in this way will allow these intentions to be acted upon more easily.”

Material to accompany the profiles, entitled 'Who is my neighbour?' is available through the Resourcing Mission website.

The data is provided by National Records of Scotland.