Last Saturday morning, the Elders and Team Leaders worked with the Very Reverend Andrew Norton working through the raw data from the parish review that was undertaken towards the end of last year. It sounds like quite a gap between doing the review and facilitating its reflection, but a wee thing called the Christmas Season and the holiday period seemed to get in the way!! LOL
So we spent the morning going through many pages of information and statistics which all together, helped give us a picture of the life, health and culture of the parish. Andrew Norton has designed it all over a long period of time and has led more than 700 people from 25 parishes work through this review up to this point in time. Of course the Northern Presbytery asked for this review to be organised and implemented in the first place. It is to take the place of the old quinquennial (i.e. five-yearly) parish reports some of you will remember.
One of the good things for us was that we had quite a good number of respondents (39) which gave a very thorough overview of First Church including a mix of ages, gender, ethnicity and so on. Andrew actually commented to me about that at the end of last year, because the more who did it as a cross-section, the better it was for looking at the outcome.
So in not too much time, we will be summarising the review and sending it out to the fellowship. But in the meantime, for us all to know, the response from Andrew about our fellowship in its simplest form is that it is a ‘significantly healthy church’. That is some praise indeed and the later raw results seem to bear out that comment. It was good to hear.