Bahai News - ELCA Hosts 'FACT' Coalition Meeting; Survey Results
Due in 2001
ELCA Hosts 'FACT' Coalition Meeting; Survey Results Due in
- Received by the WFN Archive: Aug 22 2000 2:04 PM
- Source: news@ELCA.ORG
From: News News <NEWS@ELCA.ORG>
Subject: ELCA Hosts 'FACT' Coalition Meeting; Survey Results Due in
Title: ELCA Hosts 'FACT' Coalition Meeting; Survey Results Due in 2001
ELCA NEWS SERVICE
August 22, 2000
ELCA HOSTS 'FACT' COALITION MEETING; SURVEY RESULTS DUE IN 2001
CHICAGO (ELCA) -- Nearly 100 people representing 45 religious
denominations and faith groups gathered here Aug. 7-9 at the churchwide
offices of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). The group
discussed preliminary responses from an extensive study of North
American religious life aimed at strengthening Christian, Jewish, Muslim
and Baha'i congregations across the nation.
The ELCA is among 40 denominations and faith groups involved in the
study. Overall study results are expected to be made public early in
"It is a rare occurrence for so many faith groups to be working
together on a common project," said the Rev. Robert N. Bacher,
executive for administration, ELCA Office of the Bishop. "The
results should provide a clear snapshot of religious life in America at
the beginning of this new century."
Bacher, who is part of the ELCA team involved in the project, said
the ELCA was privileged to have this group meet here at the Lutheran
"Many commented on the warmth and competence of our staff and
the utility of our building," he said. "We look forward to
doing it again next summer."
The survey of congregations, mosques and synagogues was conducted by
the denominations and faith groups working together in a coalition known
as Faith Communities Today (FACT). Ninety-five percent of all
worshippers in the United States will be represented in the study
results, said David Roozen, professor of religion and society, Hartford
(Conn.) Seminary, and co-director, Center for Social and Religious
Research. Roozen is also the project's co-director.
The meeting marked a transition from gathering data to using it,
he said. "The hard work is over; now our fun begins," Roozen
said. "Analysis of the extensive data will occupy scholars for
months, even years."
Carl Dudley, project co-director, led conversations among
researchers, educators and communication specialists about ways that
local groups will study themselves in the light of the FACT findings.
"We want to help congregations build on their strengths and
overcome any weaknesses," Dudley said. "This will be the most
powerful use of the data." Dudley is professor of church and
community, Hartford Seminary, and co-director of the seminary's Center
for Social and Religious Research.
Preliminary analysis of the responses shows most of the
congregations consider themselves "spiritually vital and
alive" and 48 percent of the congregations report that the number
of regularly participating adults has grown since 1995.
Incomplete returns indicate that youth participation is also
surprisingly high. Fifty-five percent of the congregations reported
that "most" or "almost all" high-school-aged
children of adult members are involved in the religious life and
activities of a congregation. Another 27 percent of the congregations
said "some" of the members' children were involved.
The coalition that developed and conducted the survey includes
mainline, Pentecostal, Evangelical, independent and mega-church
Protestants, as well as Catholic and Orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims,
Mormons, Baha'i and others. During plenary sessions, many speakers
remarked on the inclusive nature of the gathering.
Researchers and educators from the 40 faith groups have been
working on the project for about five years. The FACT data will help
faith groups develop strategies and programs that also can be based on
U.S. Census statistics. Congregations and other religious
organizations will be able to study the FACT data within zip-code
The research was funded in part by Lilly Endowment, Indianapolis.
Each faith group was responsible for gathering its own data
through statistically valid samples and will develop its own follow-up
programs. The faith groups used nearly 190 questions from a common
"core questionnaire." Some groups added questions of a
More than 80 percent of the ELCA congregations that participated
in the study responded, said Dr. Kenneth W. Inskeep, director, ELCA
Department for Research and Evaluation.
"I was extremely pleased with the response rate," said
Inskeep, also a member of the ELCA team. "It will ensure that
Lutherans will be well-represented in the study and that we will leave
behind an excellent body of information for the researchers and
historians of the future."
Roozen and Dudley said among the materials that will be
developed to help local congregations will be self-guiding workbooks,
study documents, analytical reports, Web sites and newsletters.
Workbooks will be offered to seminaries, interfaith organizations and
denominational offices as well as to local churches, synagogues and
mosques, they added.
Editors: Information about FACT can be found at the Hartford
Seminary's Web site at
©Copyright 2000, Hartford Seminary
Page last updated/revised 090100
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