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Catholic and Protestant churches to gather joint statistics
    For the first time in Australia, the Catholic Church will join with Protestant churches to collect statistics on church life.
    The Catholic Church will join the Uniting Church Board of Mission and ANGLICARE NSW for the National Church Life Survey 2001 (NCLS), beginning on Sunday 20 May. Also involving congregations in the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, it will be the world's largest congregational life survey.
    The Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference will be represented by Archbishop Adrian Doyle of Hobart at a special signing ceremony to be held today in Sydney.
    It is anticipated that over 500,000 parishioners from over 20 denominations across Australia will take part in the survey, which is held in Australia every five years.
    The Rev. Howard Dillon, said, "The NCLS 2001 will provide both Catholic and Protestant churches with the most comprehensive overview on the attitudes and interests of parishioners and church leaders alike.
    "The decision by the Catholic Church to become a partner in the NCLS 2001 is significant for all Christians in Australia and will be formally recognised by the signing of the new agreement."
    The last NCLS survey was conducted in 1996. The Catholic Church conducted a parallel survey, which resulted in a joint publication Taking Stock.