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New Report Explores How UCC Congregations and Clergy Are Adapting During COVID-19
Note: to view larger versions of the charts below, click on the images directly to access the full report.
A new report from the United Church of Christ (UCC) offers a glimpse into how congregations in their denomination have been impacted by the pandemic thus far.

Results are based on 345 clergy responses (representing a 42% response rate from the 823 randomly sampled clergy) collected between mid-August and mid-September 2020.
Summary of Key Findings

  • UCC congregations have had to adapt to ongoing change while also continuing to be the church in new and vibrant ways
  • The rapid shift toward online worship and ministry gatherings has been one of the most pronounced impacts of COVID-19
  • Given the central role that technology has served across many congregations during the pandemic, this is unsurprisingly an area where clergy identify needing a significant amount of assistance
Impact on Worship

  • Nearly all UCC churches who responded to the survey (95%) reported stopping worship at some point due to COVID-19
  • At the time of this survey, 57% of churches had not yet resumed in-person worship
  • 60.5% of churches worshiping online reported sharing live worship, while 39.5% reported sharing pre-recorded worship
  • Only 9% of churches reported worshiping online before the COVID-19 crisis, compared to 86% who reported holding worship online as a result of the pandemic. This represents an 855.6% increase in online worship.
  • More than half the churches who were already worshiping online before the pandemic reported having higher worship attendance and using additional platforms for online worship compared to before the pandemic
  • 77.5% of churches reported that they are planning to continue using technology they adopted during the pandemic, which suggests that some of the new ways of gathering and interacting as a congregation will become a regular feature of church life beyond the pandemic
Impact on Gathering and Giving

  • The most frequently reported change to how various groups/ministries have gathered since the pandemic is that they have moved online
  • 70% of respondents reported that their congregation has continued or expanded their outreach, community service, or social justice work
  • Congregations most commonly reported (41.7%) a decline in giving, with 38.6% reporting that giving has remained the same and 19.8% reporting an increase in giving
  • 62.9% of congregations offer electronic giving options, with 49% indicating that they offered electronic giving prior to the pandemic and 14% indicating that they have implemented electronic giving in the time period since
Impact on Clergy

  • Clergy most commonly reported relying on their Conference, the CDC, and state and local health departments to guide their decision-making around in-person worship
  • Clergy identified technology as the area where they need the most support or assistance during the pandemic
  • Clergy were asked where they as clergy receive pastoral care currently and the most common response, by far, was from other clergy colleagues (whether UCC or in another faith community)
Please direct questions to:
Wilmette Institute Hosting Webinar on Baha'i FACT Data (January 17)

Mike McMullen, lead researcher for Baha'i data collection for Faith Communities Today (FACT), will deliver a talk that provides an overview of their findings from the FACT 2020 survey, as well as how these compare to the previous 20 years of data.

This webinar is hosted by the Wilmette Institute and will take place on Sunday, January 17 at 2pm Eastern. There is no cost to attend but registration is required.
Introducing InterSearch
by Teresa Faust, United Methodist Communications

InterSearch is a consortium of Christian media ministries that works to improve members' access to and use of professional research. Members consist of digital providers, international broadcasters (radio, television, online), content producers and production houses, as well as traditional missions for whom media is a component of what they do. They come from around the globe, including Finland, Sweden, Pakistan, Egypt, Australia, United Kingdom and the USA to name a few.

Members have access to a variety of services: bi-monthly webinars; a curated monthly newsletter, and access to the InterSearch manager who can provide a desk research service or advisory support for members wishing to commission research. 

InterSearchers meet in person at the annual conference annually. In 2021, this will unfold in Helsinki, Finland. This is the only meeting of its type – audience focused, research based and specific to Christian media. 

If this sounds useful to your ministry, please contact Teresa Faust, InterSearch Chair and Manager of Research & Metrics at United Methodist Communications.
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