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Ask the Family

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Jun, 2020 02:10 PM

As some of our churches start to plan a return to their buildings for worship and other activities, more than one of them has decided to ask their community to help with the planning.

Ask the Family

Courtesy Pixabay

From the White Horse Team in Wiltshire to Shaftesbury in Dorset, they are "asking the family" what they are planning to do.

The Shaftesbury Team, which serves 8 Churches in and around the town, put together a short survey to see how many people might want to come to services.

Team Rector Revd Helen Dawes explained that she got the idea from Shaftesbury C of E Primary School:

"They are one of our local church schools and I saw that they’d used an online form as part of their planning for children returning to school."

The survey was publicised through the Team's Facebook page and weekly email list, and they kept the questions simple to get a useful overview of people’s thoughts about returning to services in church.

And the results gave some good news, with the proportion of people who would like to come to services much higher than they had expected.

70% said they were planning to come to church, while 10% said they couldn’t yet. A further 20% were unsure as they were concerned about the health risks and about how physical distancing will work.

While the Team thinks the survey may have slightly-over reported the percentage of people that will come straight back to church - because it may not have reached those more elderly members of the community, nor those with health issues who will be naturally cautious about attending services - the results have really helped with back to church planning.

The Team now believes that most of the 9 churches will be able to implement safe physical distancing for everyone who wants to come, with only one church needing to think carefully to find ways of getting as many people in as is safe.

The survey showed that most people would like to go back to the church they belonged to before lockdown, but getting back to church is more important than exactly what kind of service they go to. Lots of people ticked 2 or more service types, or chose ‘I don’t mind, I just want to go to church’.

And the survey had one more bit of good news for the Team:

"We’ve even had a couple of survey responses from people who told us they didn’t attend our churches before lockdown, but are hoping to worship with us when we re-open," Helen said.

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