The Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education (MDCCE) is conducting a new all-island survey that measures the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on adult churchgoers. The Covid-19 pandemic has obviously had a profound effect on churches. The lockdown has severely restricted ministry in areas such as pastoral care, fellowship groups, and serving the community. On the other hand, for those with online access, worship has taken on new and creative forms over the last few weeks. Many clergy and ministry teams have risen to the challenge of operating in the virtual environment.
This survey is part of an empirical study initiated at York St. John University investigating the impact for churchgoers in England, Scotland and Wales. The Irish study is led by Dr. Gareth Byrne, DIrector of the MDCCE and Dr. Bernadette Sweetman, post-doctoral researcher at the Centre.
A link to this significant online survey can be found below.
As we pass the most severe period of lockdown, it seems a good time to assess how churchgoers have responded to the experience, and what they think the future might hold. How well have people coped with the pandemic? Has it strengthened or weakened their faith? How has it been for clergy and ministry teams trying to work in this new environment? How have those receiving ministry found this novel experience? Will virtual ministry become part of the post-pandemic landscape, and will this be a good move for your church?
Dr. Gareth Byrne, Director of the MDCCE, explains “It is important to document the response of churchgoers to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on their faith lives and connection with Church. We hope to capture evidence of people’s experiences during this time, as well as indicators of possibilities and learning for the future”.
This online survey will take you about 20 minutes to complete. Most of the questions simply require you to tick boxes, though there are options to specify your particular circumstances, and an opportunity at the end for you to tell us your views in your own words. Alongside questions about the pandemic and ministry there are sections which ask about you: these are important because they will allow us to see how the lockdown is affecting different sorts of people in different contexts.
The survey can be completed on mobile phones, though it is more quickly completed on devices with larger screens such as tablets or computers.
You can access using the following link: Coronavirus, Church and You Survey
If you have any questions about this survey, please contact the research team. Contact details below:
Dr. Gareth Byrne, Director Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education, Dublin City University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Bernadette Sweetman, Mater Dei Centre for Catholic Education, Dublin City University Email: email@example.com
The Revd Professor Andrew Village, York St John University
The Revd Canon Professor Leslie J. Francis, Visiting Professor York St John University
Full ethical approval of this study was provided by the Research Ethics Committee of the School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy at York St. John University.