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Results are in-MC Canada Communications Survey


Winnipeg, Man.—Sixty-nine per cent of participants at Lethbridge 2000 said they felt "very positive" when they think of Mennonite Church Canada; 26% felt "somewhat positive", while 2% said they felt "somewhat negative".

These are among the preliminary results of a communications survey conducted at this year's annual assembly in Lethbridge. Of 641 registered adult participants (representing 142 congregations), 26% completed the survey.

Ninety-nine percent of respondents believe that one way Mennonite Church Canada communicates with congregations and members is through the Canadian Mennonite; 42% said they read church publications more than they did five years ago.

On the technology front, 65% said they personally had access to the internet, 33% said their church has a web site (4% could recall the web site address), and 35% said they would "very much" welcome Mennonite Church Canada communiqués via email. However, 70% said they would prefer missionary visits to their church over any other kind of communication, and 63% preferred staff visits.

When asked "How important is it that we help maintain/preserve cultural Euro-Canadian Mennonite traditions in the church?", 26% said "not important", 38% were neutral, and 36% felt it was very important.

Fifty-six percent of respondents were over age 55; 25 % were college or university graduates, and another 25% had post graduate degrees. Twenty-five percent of respondents were pastors.

So what do all these numbers mean? "A lot can be learned from surveys such as these. How the results are interpreted is a great responsibility," said Dan Dyck, director of communications for Mennonite Church Canada.

"The answers can help us focus more clearly on communications initiatives. I'd like to see the 69% 'very positive' group increase substantially. Of concern is that 56% of respondents were over age 55. Does this mean that a substantial number of folks under age 55 didn't complete the survey, or does it mean that very few under age 55 participate in annual assemblies? Sometimes the answers beg more questions," said Dyck.

"The role communication plays in the church has for too long been underestimated, and underachieved. Everything the church does, from worship leading to web sites, is about communicating," Dyck added.

"Learning how to communicate effectively, to inspire, motivate, and involve people is the challenge facing every level of the church."