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Call for October counts - Statistics for mission

Date: 01 October 2013

PARISHES IN THE DIOCESE OF GUILDFORD ARE BEING REMINDED to complete this year’s Statistics for Mission and Return of Parish Finance forms, which must be completed online, using >

The major change to this year’s system is that collection is now church-based rather than parish-based, affecting parishes with more than one church, who are now able to enter data separately for each church.

Parishes should have details of username and password to log on to the database, but if there are any problems, please contact or 01483 790312.

Each year, statistics are analysed and published in the annual Statistics for Mission and Finance Statistics publications, the latest of which for last year’s data can be found here >

Parish statistics also form an essential foundation to discussions within synod about our future vision.

Full details

• This year Research and Statistics have made a few changes to the Statistics for Mission (Membership) form in response to feedback: • The major change is to move to CHURCH based collection rather than PARISH based. In the majority of cases this will not make any difference, however if your parish has multiple churches we hope a single return for each church will improve the data quality and better enable the data to be used, particularly in areas of change with pastoral reorganisations. The diocese has provided a form (attached), for the October count only, to help churches to collect the data. Please enter this into the database when completed. The database will be open for 2013 figures on 9th October. • In the October count, you will note that we have separated our mid-week counts into those held for schools (assemblies etc) and those held for the community. This is because in the past people were confused as to whether they should include these or not, so there was no consistent practice. We agreed that it is useful to know about our work with schools, but for simplicity we will give them their own box on the form. • There is a new question about numbers of people attending special services held in Advent. We have introduced this question after we received so many emails earlier this year with responses to our Christmas Counts exercise. People told us that their Christmas day counts were very low but that our statistics did not reflect the huge number of people who do not usually come to church but who want to share in the true message of Christmas so come along to the variety of carol services, nativity services etc. held through Advent. • The one-off question this year relates to work with children, families and young people. It asks how many people are paid and volunteer, and also the total hours worked. This question has been asked by the National Children’s Division to try to measure the huge amount of work the church provides with these groups, as we do not know this information already. • •There are a few small differences to the Statistics for Mission form in response to feedback to improve data collection and use, including a clear assumption that an empty box will be considered as “don’t know” rather than zero; splitting baptism figures for those aged 1-12 into two categories of 1-4 and 5-12; and adding “moved from/to a local church” as a category for the joiners and leavers questions.

The Return of Parish Finance has two changes: the first is in response to feedback adding a new box to collect “Other outgoing resources” as some parishes had expenditure that they could not fit into the existing codes. The second is a one off question to measure the number of lay employees that are paid the living wage in response to the General Synod motion passed in November 2012 to “strongly encourage all Church of England institutions to pay at least the Living Wage” in order to ensure, as far as possible, that all employees have enough to achieve a decent standard of living for them and their families.

The Spending Plans Task Group has been having a series of discussions with diocesan leadership teams about resourcing issues. These have revealed a widespread desire for a quicker process of data collection and dissemination within the Church. Therefore the Group have requested that the deadline for submitting the 2013 Statistics for Mission forms should be 31 January 2014.
Because of the need to wait for the Annual Parochial Church Meetings (which must be held by the end of April) the deadline for the Annual Finance Return will be 31 May 2013.

We hope that the data you gather for the Statistics for Mission and Finance Return exercise is useful to you in measuring how your church is changing; please do use the reporting tools included in the system to explore how your attendance and income/expenditure have shifted over the last few years. To help you to use this data in context the Research and Statistics team in the Archbishops’ Council have also recently produced Parish Spotlights. These bring together figures from your church with information from the government Census to explore your church in relation to your local community. They cover areas such as Christian affiliation, population age and ethnicity profiles, household structures, deprivation, employment, schools and qualifications, alongside church statistics such as attendance and giving. Research and Statistics hope you have found these tools useful and welcome feedback on how we can help you further in using your local statistics.

The data you provide are used in many ways in both your diocese and nationally. Nationally, over the last year the National Church Institutions have been using the data as part of a large scale research project exploring some of the factors that might explain church growth in the Church of England. Visit the website here for more information

Each year your statistics are analysed and published in the annual Statistics for Mission and Finance Statistics publications, the latest of which for last year’s data can be found here:

and Your statistics also form an essential foundation to discussions within synod about the future of our church.

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