Grace by the numbers: Results of the parish survey

By Steve Wade

Steve WadeThe great sportscaster Vin Sculy once observed, “Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.” These statistics about the life at Grace are offered to support the sense you are developing about us. In and of themselves, these numbers have little value. When considered along with other information and anecdotal stories they have value.

According to data on file with the national church, Grace has grown in recent years. Grown in membership, plate/pledge, and average Sunday attendance. Grace currently has 336 households, just over 500 members and an average Sunday attendance of 225. Membership and attendance have seen modest growth, while giving has increased at a faster pace.

We are a diverse group whose average age has decreased in recent years. Currently 49% of our members are under 50 years old. We enjoy a nice mix of old and new members. 43% of our members have been so for over 15 years, while 35% have been members less than 8 years.

Each service has it’s own unique style and community. Our fast growing service is Saturday evening that averages 50 people or 22% of our weekend worshipper. As with most churches our largest service is held at 10 on Sunday and averages about 150 or 67%. Our 8 am service on Sunday averages 25 people. 63% of those surveyed attend church at least once a month. Of those 43% attend church at least twice each month. Attendance dips in the summer and stabilizes again in the fall. As a tourist town you might think we’d see an influx in the summer but that it not the case.

In a recent survey taken by 50% of the congregation we learned people believe each of our core ministry areas are stronger than they were three years ago and they expect each to improve over the next three years.

Respondents were asked what they wanted from you, our next rector. Their collective priorities reflected a desire for primary attention be given to worship and preaching followed by, in order, pastoral care, teaching, outreach and finally administration.

There are plenty of opinions on every conceivable subject. The survey generated an astonishing 2,000 individual comments.


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