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Church Life Survey to include Catholics and international congregations

A cross-section of Catholic parishes is being represented for the first time in the National Church Life Survey involving 2.3 million church attenders in 17,300 congregations throughout Australia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA.

The 2001 National Church Life Survey (NCLS), which is taking place this month and next month, will be the third for Australian Protestant denominations. It is the first time the scope of the survey has been international.

Common questions have been designed across the four nations to assist church leaders and congregations to reflect on church life, gain insights and plan future directions. Other questions will focus on the needs of particular groups. Working together makes it possible to achieve far more than each country could on its own.

"This project is unprecedented in its size and scope," said Rev Dr Dean Drayton, chair of the international steering committee. "For the first time we will be able to compare four countries in detail, and be wiser in how we read and apply what comes from overseas sources."

"The survey teams are motivated by a shared desire to help congregations in their mission", commented Dr Peter Kaldor, coordinator of the international dimension of the project. "This allows us to move beyond our differences and find constructive ways forward".

The National Church Life Survey is a major collaborative project that seeks to assist in equipping the churches for mission. In Australia, it is a partnership between the Uniting Church Board of Mission, Anglicare (NSW), and the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.