Amport Parish Survey Report – March 2008
Introduction. The Survey was part of our Mission Audit, and its aim was to find out what the parishioners need and want of the church, how it might supply their needs, and what the PCC might do to make their wishes come about. The Survey Report is still in draft, and is very lengthy since in addition to the numerous statistics of the yes/no questions, it records all the individual comments. At this stage, only main statistical points are given.
Profile. Amport Church Parish is disjointed both physically and socially. The church community is mainly aged, and it is already clear from the numerically low response to the mailing (35 replies from 160 households), that went to each household that gets the Parish News, that we have failed to catch the attention of the main and younger group of people. the age breakdown was: 70% were over 60 years old; 22% were 40-60 years; one person 20-40 years; and one was a press-ganged teenager. Almost half the replies came from regular, though not necessarily frequent churchgoers, with 47% attending St Mary’s more than 12 times annually, and 93% live in Amport Church Parish. We also reckon that10-15 CoE parishioners attend other churches regularly. On the other hand, we now have proof that our top action for Mission must be to engage following generations, and we are very grateful to those who returned forms.
Vocation and Ministry. In considering what we might expect from our Vicar in a Benefice situation, 83% felt that the PCC was for all the villagers in Amport, 70% that we should do much more for young people and 80% that we should review the church services. About 20% (7 out of 35) had “lost their faith”. In deciding how we thought of St Mary’s Church, 20% considered it was a place of worship only, and 25% had no view. 88% considered it to be an essential part of village and community, 78% a quiet sanctuary, and a special place where our loved ones lie, 75% an important local landmark, 77% a community hall for suitable events, 78% that it embodied the history of Amport people, and 75% that it had relevance.
Leadership. On the demise of Clergy visiting, 54% considered it significant and 38% not so. Visits by the Vicar or other designated church members were supported by around 90%, except that visiting every home once a year was only 40 %. As for the wider use of the church, 60% considered that evening Badminton or other activities for youth should be considered, but some that Badminton itself should not be permitted. The one 16 year old did not consider that youth would be interested! As for the demise of "clergy visiting" only 53% considered this significant.
Growth. 90% considered that the Vicar and PCC should address some of the Bishop of Salisbury’s points for a good service, and review our services. However the only really strong views on what might help were that 70% did not want services in places other than church, 80% considered the Vicar should wear vestments, and 77% wanted more popular hymn tunes. As for services, 63% would prefer not to have communion as part of the family service, but have it afterwards. 50% did not want a crèche behind a glass screen and 33% were in favour. Only 25% wished the monthly Benefice Service to go back to the 5th Sunday in month. 10am was the preferred time for the main Sunday service. For other uses of St Mary’s, all uses were very highly supported, though for religious films, meals and charity sales support dropped to 70-80%.
Framework for Ministry. 87% were happy that we should join the Proposed New Structure of 7 parishes planning team, and 10% not so, but would not strongly oppose it.
Review of Parish Share. Church maintenance attracted modest promises of support, but 85% would help fundraise. 63% considered that we should/could continue our level of fundraising, 57% that there was scope for increased giving, 53% that we should do more to help fund those in need, and 50% that we should raise an extra maintenance charge for special services, eg for weddings. 75% considered that we would continue to find financial support, and 67% that we should form a church preservation trust as is found in Nether Wallop.
Lastly, the comments by individuals, whilst not useful statistically, were nearly all worth reading, and form a very important part of the Survey. They will be appraised, and key views noted, particularly where several people make the same point. A full copy of the draft report is available now and can be sent: email: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone 772240. The PCC will send the final report to the Diocese in time for Pentecost. David Mallam, Churchwarden
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