UCCan Ministers and God/god Survey


Some of you will know that I’m a rather inquisitive kind of person. I like asking questions and finding out about where people are at.

This survey grew out of a comment a ministerial colleague, Gretta Vosper, made on The National. The interview was a catalyst to my engaging in this exploration, inviting the rest of our colleagues to check a box or two, telling me a (little!) bit about what they believe.

The paper has been reviewed by three academic colleagues – two who teach in theological fields, and one a sociologist of religion. I asked them to help me make sure that my analysis and recommendations didn’t go past what the data allowed. Their thoughts, along with those of other readers and proofreaders, helped to make this a much better paper. I am deeply thankful for their help.

This was an exploratory study. The results do suggest that further study would be recommended. I’m thinking about how that could happen!

Please feel free to download and then to comment on what you’ve read. (Posts are moderated. Feel free to be passionate… but please be respectful to one another.) If you’d like a one-on-one conversation using my contact form will send an email directly to my phone! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

I hope you find the reading as interesting as I have found the writing.

Preliminary Report (.PDF)
Executive Summary (Powerpoint slideshow)
Executive Summary (.PDF of slideshow)

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  1. Vosper should do the honourable thing and resign, since she no longer believes her ordination vows. Oh, wait, she needs a job and likes the UCC pension plan. And presbytery doesn't have the guts to fire her. Spare me! My demonination has strayed from its roots and I and getting tired of providing financial support to this nonsense.

  2. Thanks for this work, Richard…and thanks to Gretta for providing some of the motivation for it! My denomination, our denomination, has demonstrated it's acceptance of different ideas. I hope hat continues to be the case! Much further study is required. I hope you continue your good work! (Hello to a different John Anderson who commented previously).

  3. Richard, how do you explain the huge discrepancy between the number of supernatural theists in Q1 and Q3, that is, 34% and 79%, respectively? And why have you ignored the results of Q1 in your abstract? It seems to me Q1 validates the claim that “at least upwards of 50% of the clergy in the United Church … don't believe in a theistic, supernatural, God.” Indeed, that looks to be about 66%, based on Q1.

  4. Richard I would be interested in how the responses to the survey differ for for those retired, or entering order of ministry prior to 1980 compared more recent ministers. Including students in with the retirees does not make sense to me. Is there a difference in the older active ministers vs younger ones? Is there any indication of an impact of changes at theological training instituions on the present "big tent" senarion in the UCC?

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