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Tools for mapping your church strategy

Tools for mapping your church strategy

The Episcopal Church is offering free tools to study your neighborhood and diocesan demographics. A helpful resource if you are making strategic plans for evangelism and church growth.

The Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society has posted information to help congregations and dioceses understand the demographics of their areas, an important tool for growth and vision processes. The information, Studying Your Congregation and Community, is available for no fee here

Studying Your Congregation and Community allows users to easily download customized MissionInsite demographic profiles based on a 3-mile radius around their congregations.  These community profiles include 2010 Census data, demographic estimates through 2014, and projections through 2019.

“This free feature has proven helpful for congregations and dioceses of all sizes in strategic planning and development,” explained C. Kirk Hadaway, Ph.D., Officer for Congregational Research for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society “The uses include such applications as stewardship, short- and long-term planning, and strategic development.”

Additionally, the congregational 11-year Participation and Giving trend charts, called Church Charts online, have been updated with 2013 Parochial Report information, which is the most recent available.

Be sure to check the Research & Statistics page here for additional important congregational information including Parochial Report filing process, due to dioceses March 1.

For more information contact Christine Kandic, Congregational Research Assistant for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society.


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Ted Copland

I’ve consulted with several parishes whose three mile radius includes a coastal area (sharks and fishermen) or a state park (deer and alligators). Those statistics are not much worth in planning and ministry.

Ann Fontaine

You can talk to the staff about making it more useful. They will enlarge the area, set the center off from the church location if the 3 miles is not useful.

Jon White

There is some interesting info here, but the study area defined for the church is too small. For an urban or suburban congregation maybe a two mile circle is good, but in a rural area that leaves out most of the people who are already part of the church. We’re the only church in our county and the nearest Episcopal Church is 20 miles away, and the next nearest is 50.

Ann Fontaine

They will adjust it for any area you request. I have had special searches run for our church in Oregon – which as you can see if one uses a circle one gets a lot of Pacific Ocean.

Jay Croft

Ann, that sounds like a whale of a job. ;-]

Tobias Haller

I visited this, but was somewhat disappointed to find that the “ethnic” breakdowns are based on color rather than nationality, and so are less helpful than might be the case otherwise.

One of the very real factors for church futures in my own neck of God’s kingdom is the high proportion of people from Africa and the West Indies — many of whom are Anglicans; while African Americans are not, in the majority, Episcopalian.

Apart from that, the info is helpful, but not quite so helpful as I’d hoped it might be.

Ann Fontaine

Write to Kirk Hadaway and his staff — he is very responsive to feedback.

Tobias Haller

Thanks, John. As I suspected, this data deals in categories that are less relevant to our mission than national background, which, I might add, is only marginally relevant, due to the distribution of Anglicans in former colonies and territories of England and the US.

Tobias Haller

Thanks, Ann. I’m not sure there is a simple solution to this, as the data is based on census, which I don’t think includes national or cultural background. I’ve noted this problem before: Ethnicity seems to be the metric the state wants, so that’s what gets collected.

John Chilton
The United States enumerated most or all foreign-born Americans by mother between 1910 and 1970, with the exception of 1950.[174] It counted the foreign-born aged five or more by the language that they spoke at home since 1980.[175] Before 1970, Alaska and Hawaii had different choices for race on their censuses in contrast to the continental United States.[168]
The 2020 United States Census might allow Middle Easterners and North Africans to write in their ethnicity/race instead of merely marking them as White.[176][177] Right now, and in the past, Arabs have been marked in the U.S. Census as White.[176] This began in the early twentieth century when Arabs coming to the United States successfully petitioned to be marked as White in order to avoid entry quotas and have a greater chance of achieving success and avoiding discrimination.[176][178]
The U.S. Census Bureau does not collect data on religious affiliation in its demographic surveys or decennial census. Public Law 94-521 prohibits us from asking a question on religious affiliation on a mandatory basis; in some person or household surveys, however, the U.S. Census Bureau may collect information about religious practices, on a voluntary basis. Therefore, the U.S. Census Bureau is not the source for information on religion, nor is the Census Bureau the source for information on religious affiliation.

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