Perspectives on Presbyterians and the larger religious scene from the research staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
Over this past weekend it was reported that Tropical Storm Isaac hit Haiti with heavy winds and rains, killing at least 24 people. Haiti, as you may know, suffered major devastation in January of 2010 when it was hit by an earthquake.
With thoughts of Haiti looming heavy on my heart, I explored the newly-released results from the 2011 Clerk’s Annual Questionnaire, which contains data about the Presbyterian response to the 2010 Haitian earthquake. The Clerk’s Annual Questionnaire is a survey sent to all Presbyterian congregations from the denomination’s research office. The 2011 questionnaire was filled out by each congregation’s clerk of session between January and April of 2011.
Nearly half of congregations (48%) reported that the congregation had donated funds for disaster relief or mission work in Haiti since the earthquake in January of 2010. More than four in nine congregations (46%) also said that individual members in their congregations had donated funds. One quarter of congregations (25%) reported both.
One in ten congregations (11%) reported that someone from their congregation visited Haiti to do mission work or to help with disaster relief since the earthquake. Of these congregations, (4%) sent a person or group to Haiti, and 7% saw one or more worshipers travel to Haiti who were not officially sent by the congregation.
At the time of the survey, only 5% of congregations were planning or considering a trip to Haiti in 2012 or 2013. Three-quarters (74%) of the congregations planning or considering a trip were congregations that had previously sent someone to Haiti or congregations where individual members had volunteered in Haiti. One-quarter of congregations (26%) that reported considering or planning a trip to Haiti had not sent worshipers since 2010 nor reported that worshipers had been since 2010. About one in five congregations (21%) were interested in receiving information about doing effective mission work in Haiti from the Presbyterian Church Office. Of those congregations requesting information, one in five congregations had sent someone to Haiti or had reported that individuals from the congregation had gone to Haiti to help with recovery after the earthquake.
Gratefully, the damage to Haiti from Tropical Storm Isaac was not as bad as was originally anticipated. Yet, I know worshipers in many Presbyterian congregations will continue to hold Haiti in their prayers, contribute funds, and think about other ways in which their congregation can help.
For more information about ways you can help Haiti, click here
By Cynthia Woolever
Rarely do we get the opportunity to dig deeper into the many factors fueling church growth. But recently more than one hundred of the fastest growing PC(USA) congregations invited all of their worshipers to complete a survey during worship services. We’ve compiled the results and a report is now available. The more than 8,000 Presbyterians who attend these churches and completed a survey have a lot to say! The research findings point to the strengths of growing churches, how they reach out to non-members, and their approaches to integrating and engaging new people. You ...
Just released, the 2010 Religious Congregations and Membership Study (RCMS) is the closest thing to a religious census in the United States. Data collected by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies (ASARB) include statistics for 236 religious groups. In 2000, only 149 groups took part, which makes the 2010 statistics the most comprehensive to date. The RCMS provides information on the number of congregations and adherents of each of these religious groups within every state and county in the United States.
We’ll have more details on the implications for the PC(USA) in the future. For now ...
By Joelle Kopacz
Most PC(USA) congregations have a pastor, and some also have one or more associate pastors. While PC(USA) pastors have been an ongoing focus of research, associate pastors in the denomination have never been systematically studied—until now. Research Services has recently released a report detailing the lives and ministries of full-time associate pastors serving in PC(USA) congregations. The report includes such findings as:
By Jack Marcum
The maps and accompanying text provide answers to questions such as:
By Jack Marcum
In 2001, we asked respondents to a Presbyterian Panel survey to tell us how various aspects of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) might look in 25 to 50 years. How have their prognostications turned out so far? I report an interim assessment in my “Go Figure” column in the January/February 2011 issue of Presbyterians Today.
Before jumping over to see how Presbyterians read the tea leaves a decade ago, what would you expect their predictions to be on these issues?
Remember the spring of 2001? George W. Bush was the new president and the September 11 attacks were months away. The world has changed in many ways since then. Have Presbyterian congregations and their worshipers experienced remarkable changes, too? Responses from 40,000 worshipers in a national study of Presbyterian congregations help us answer that question and give an up-to-date snapshot of Presbyterians. Here are some highlights of what we found.
How have Presbyterians changed?
In many ways Presbyterians as a group haven’t changed very much. Six in ten are women; seven in ten are married; half are employed ...
Chip and Dan Heath have another best-seller—Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. It’s a fascinating read, full of wonderful examples and real-life situations.
Why is change hard? The authors help us understand that the rational, logical side of our brain often competes with the brain’s emotional, instinctive side. They tag the brain’s emotional side as the headstrong Elephant, and the rational side, the Rider. Those images make it abundantly clear that no matter how fantastic the Rider’s vision of change is, the Elephant won’t turn in that direction without encouragement. The ...
By Jack Marcum
Giving is selective. People with certain characteristics give a higher percentage to the church, on average, than people with other characteristics. Test your knowledge (or intuition) in this area:
Which Presbyterians tend to give a bigger share of their income to church?
To see the answers, and to learn about generous givers, take a look at the latest Go Figure column from Research Services in Presbyterians Today. There ...
By Ida Smith-Williams
Earth Day originated on college campuses in 1970 as a way to bring environmental issues to the national agenda. Today, more churches and places of worship are joining the movement. It’s a good fit spiritually and financially for churches to emphasize and act as a role model in caring for God’s greatest creation, the Earth.
Churches are going green in lots of ways. Some are including energy-efficient features in construction projects, recycling printed materials, eliminating use of Styrofoam coffee cups, serving organic coffee and local foods, and opening community gardens, to name a few.