Parish survey, ECCT database, and
data you can access
This summer, your bishops and staff at The Commons will be rolling out a parish survey similar to the hard copy "Information sheet" sent out in the past. Each parish and worshiping community in the Episcopal Church in Connecticut (ECCT) will be sent a packet in the mail that includes a code number for login access to a secure web portal.
As the surveys are completed by the various parishes and worshiping communities, we believe the information will help you and all of us participate more fully and more collaboratively in God's mission.
HOW IT WORKS
There is a great deal of information for you to share about your parish and its ministries, so we're suggesting that you do this as a summer project. Soon, you'll be receiving a letter with your login information, a list of all the questions (to help you prepare), and a copy of our database policies. When you complete your survey, an electronic notification will go to a database administrator at The Commons, who will upload your parish data into the common ECCT database.
We'll then remind you at least once a year to review and update your data, which will be retained by you securely through your web portal. Your updates will send a notification to the database administrator so she can make the changes in the ECCT database.
As in the past, access to some information in the ECCT database will be restricted and other data will go into familiar types of PDF directories that will be published online. Bishops, ECCT staff, and region missionaries will all have access to the data for their work.
New this time, however, will be the ability to share certain data that will facilitate direct collaboration between parishes and other worshiping communities. This data will be made available to "Recognized Leaders," ordained and lay persons who are serving as staff, elected, contracted, or volunteer leaders.
We want Recognized Leaders in ECCT parishes and worshiping communities to be able to contact one another and one another's parishes or worshiping community directly so they can (for example) ask questions of each other, invite each other to trainings and events, and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
There will be an official process to request the information. The request must be made in support of a valid ministry purpose. A bishop or canon will need to sign off on the request. Because we plan to share names and email addresses of parishes and Recognized Leaders among each other, we recommend that parishes and worshiping communities obtain generic email addresses for elected leaders and all other ministry positions. You might be able to do this through the company that hosts your website, or you might use gmail from Google or other free service.
We acknowledge there is a risk in sharing information so we have taken and recommended steps that we believe will minimize that risk. We believe, and hope you will also come to believe, that the potential for benefit is greater.
EPISCOPAL RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT
For several years, the US Disaster Response arm of Episcopal Relief and Development has been building an interactive map of The Episcopal Church showing all the parishes, schools, worshiping communities, and more. (Ours is at ecct.episcopalassetmap.org.) The work grew out of their earlier effort to collect data on assets available in time of a disaster. ECCT staff believe this map can be a valuable tool in our current and future collaborative ministry on a church-wide basis, so we intentionally included a number of questions in our survey that matched those of the Asset Map.
While the Asset Map administrators hope parishes will complete their own surveys, in ECCT, we plan to collect ministry information in our survey for our own database, then export a copy of selected items to the Asset Map. (If a parish has already submitted their information, it can excluded from this upload process.) See, "How we will use the data" for types of information we will share.
Elected and non-elected staff and volunteer leader email addresses will be subscribed to ECCT eNewsletters. We think these can be extremely helpful. People can unsubscribe at any time through a link at the bottom of each newsletter, and change or update their email address through that link. The system will not send a duplicate copy if a person is already subscribed with the same email address. To opt-out in advance, email Karin Hamilton.
To learn more, and prepare for the survey, visit this page. The packet should be mailed the week of July 9 (God willing). Documents are also listed here:
* Letter with FAQs for the clergy in charge, administrators, and wardens of parishes and worshiping communities
* Database policies, with process and sample form for requesting information
* Overview of survey questions
* "What are we collecting?" chart
* "How will we use the data?"chart
Your ECCT team working directly on this project includes Karin Hamilton, Canon for Mission Communication & Media; Louis Fuertes, Canon for Mission Finance & Operations; and Matt Handi, Office Manager. Contact any of us with your questions. The policies and the survey have been reviewed and edited by both ECCT bishops, other ECCT staff canons, and ECCT administrative staff.
Blessings on your ministry and our shared
collaboration in God's mission here in Connecticut.