In space no one can hear you scream
The "sort of" is because it is very obvious that whoever assembled the survey has a specific church model in mind, and it is not mine. Come to think of it, it's not most of the churches I know out here. Just a few examples:
- "Your congregation": The survey repeatedly asks questions as though one priest/one parish were the only possibility. Hello-- almost half the congregations here are part of a yoked or cluster ministry, and Montana is not the only place where that is true. Should I complete it 4 times? But then what about the joint efforts my churches occasionally sponsor?
- Attendance: Total number? Number of boys? Number of girls? Number of minority children? All the same answer: "less than 10," which tells them nothing. I'd love to have more than 10 children attending any of my churches in this region, EVER!! Heck, sometimes that describes the TOTAL Sunday morning attendance at a couple of my churches. Which brings me to...
- Percentages: The presence of one African-American child among 3 children in one congregation is going to give an awfully skewed representation of racial diversity that just plain does not exist in Montana the same way it does in New York City.
- Identity Verification Policy: (to make sure that kids don't leave with the wrong adults). No, we don't have one. Shocking, how lax we are! But really-- for the children in our ecumenical Wednesday-after-school club in Absarokee? We know them, and they know us. It's not hard in a community of 1000 people, when there are 12-15 kids from the 4 mainline churches in that town supporting the program.
It was. Awe and amazement! "It never entered our minds to put in any instructions for those serving more than one congregation." Then the poor dear hoped I'd talk with the people overseeing the survey project, because "the information you have about the realities of your congregations and community is absolutely essential to their designing programs effectively."
Would those be more seminars back east that I cannot afford to attend? Or more complex programs that I do not have the time or ability to implement without support that is not forthcoming?