Church of England seeks user ratings for christenings and funerals
In areas where ratings were used, church weddings increased by between 10 and 50 per cent
The Church of England is asking its followers to give feedback on funerals and christenings in a drive to make services more popular.
The Archbishop's Council has commissioned independent researchers to delve into how the Church ministers to its faithful at the key moments of birth and death. The research is partially motivated by concerns over the gradual decline in people using churches for christenings, weddings and funerals now that secular alternatives are readily available.
The two projects will seek feedback from congregations about what improvements could be made. A similar scheme began five years ago in the Bradford and Oxford dioceses to examine weddings, for which brides and grooms were asked to "rate" their marriage on subjects as varied as the friendliness of the vicar and whether church staff were helpful.
The feedback was forwarded to the bishops within each diocese, creating a powerful impetus for clergy to improve their performance. In the areas where the rating system has been used, the Church says the number of weddings has increased by between 10 and 50 per cent.
For a Church struggling to fill its pews, tapping into the marriage market is both spiritually and financially lucrative. Some bishops were even sent to wedding shows to help sell the advantages of a church service and dispel misconceptions that brides and grooms must be regular worshippers or that vicars will be unapproachable.
The Church hopes a new approach to christenings will enjoy similar success. The researchers will report back in 2016, though improvements to services may come in earlier.
The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Rev Graham James, said: "By listening to England in this way, we have found that the Church's traditional ministry is still wanted and appreciated by people. It has given churches a spring in their step, and helped them serve people better who come for a wedding."
Ukraine crisis: Helicopter gunships take country closer to all-out war
Undertaker dead hoax: WWE legend not 'found dead in home' as Facebook and Twitter reports
Malaysia Airlines MH370 co-pilot's phone 'was on and made contact with network tower' 30 minutes after plane turned around
Oscar Pistorius trial: Reeva Steenkamp told athlete she 'loved him' for first time in Valentine's Day card
Lunar eclipse 2014: Images of the spectacular 'blood moon'
David Cameron: 'Jesus invented the Big Society – I'm just continuing God's work'
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
- 1 Refugee facing deportation from Sweden saved by fellow passengers refusing to let plane leave
- 2 The best movies on Netflix: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
- 3 Naked yoga: the bare truth - it's already big in the US, and has now landed here
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline bribed doctors to boost sales, says whistleblower
Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: TAs, LSAs and Support Workers needed in ...
£41000 - £48000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Eye for Detail? S...
Unpaid: Kaya Responsible Travel: There are many small development projects in ...
£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...