Surveys about religion to start next week
TWO MAJOR surveys about faith in 21st-century Ireland will begin next Wednesday.
Organised by the Irish School of Ecumenics at Trinity College, one survey is designed for clergy of all Christian denominations and religious faiths, while the other is designed for lay people.
Both can be completed online at www.ecumenics.ie/survey.
They will ask clergy and lay people in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland what issues are of most importance to their faith.
There will also be questions about the impact of diversity and immigration, and attitudes to reconciliation and ecumenism.
Titled Visioning 21st-Century Ecumenism: Diversity, Dialogue and Reconciliation, the surveys are part of a three-year research project intended to develop a comprehensive understanding of how religious communities in Ireland deal with cultural diversity and division, religious pluralism and inter-religious dialogue, and ecumenical reconciliation.
They are being funded by the Department of An Taoiseach through the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences.
The surveys constitute part of celebrations of the centenary of the 1910 World Mission Conference in Edinburgh, which many consider as having started the modern ecumenical movement.
Principal investigator will be Prof Linda Hogan, head of the school of ecumenics at TCD, with Dr Gladys Ganiel overseeing survey research.
The research team will include Dr Andrew Pierce, Dr Geraldine Smyth, Dr John D’Arcy May, Dr Norbert Hintersteiner, Dr David Tombs, Therese Cullen and Celia Kenny.
“The insights we gain from the surveys will help us to frame the overall research project, developing theological models for meaningful engagement with these issues,” said Prof Hogan.
She continued: “We expect these will have theological significance and impact beyond Ireland, and will contribute to important global debates.”
Dr Ganiel pointed out that “these surveys are the first of their kind on the island of Ireland. We are intensely interested in how clergy and people at the grassroots of our churches and faith communities are approaching these important issues.”
The research team has gathered either an e-mail or postal address for all clergy and religious leaders on the island. They will contact clergy and religious leaders from April 15th (next Wednesday), requesting their participation in the survey, which will be live on www.ecumenics.ie/survey until May 31st. Clergy may also request a paper copy of the survey to complete by hand.
All interested lay people are being invited by the research team to visit www.ecumenics.ie/survey and complete the lay person survey, which will be live until June 30th.
As survey results come through, they will be made available to churches, faith communities, the media and the wider public on www.ecumenics.ie and www.tcd.ie/ise
Further details at www.tcd.ie/ise and www.ecumenics.ie.