by Fr. C. Kevin Gillespie, SJ
Recently at Holy Trinity Parish, we conducted a comprehensive survey of parishioners, under the guidance of the public research organization, OpinionWorks. Distributed by email and traditional mail from mid-March until late April, the survey yielded a total of 1067 respondents, approximately 20% of registered parishioners. Please refer to our website homepage under announcements for the presentation of the survey results. The results revealed some intriguing findings for future consideration. For instance, 45% of the responses were from Virginia, with 40% from Washington DC and 15% from Maryland.
The survey also found that 86% of our respondents were very strong in their overall satisfaction with the parish. For example, “very high satisfaction” was reported in the “Celebration of Mass” (90%), “Gospel Commitment to Social Justice” (77%), and “Enriching Your Personal Spiritual Life” (75%). When asked where the Parish should focus in the next 3-5 years, the highest priority was given to “supporting people in need in the community” (88%). Also given high priority were:
“Fostering a vibrant in-person worship experience” (87%)
“Building a stronger sense of community within the parish” (87%)
“Actively engaging our youth” (86%)
“Supporting the role of women in the church” (82%)
“Speaking out on issues of social justice” (80%)
Outstanding among the statistics is the finding that 70% of our sampled parishioners place Holy Trinity at or near the top of their giving priorities. Thank you for your continued support.
One of my personal takeaways is the challenge to engage in better communication. It seems that our parishioners are not aware of some of the activities already occurring at Holy Trinity. Hence the need to inform them about the existence of 85 parish programs such as the daily homilies available via email; the need for more volunteers to enhance the sense of community (such as volunteering for the annual picnic–if you can assist, please sign up here bit.ly/42ina8B)and for support of worship (such as Eucharistic Ministers and Sacristans); and the many additional avenues for the building of community that exist in the parish.
The survey results will provide valuable input to the process of developing a strategic plan for the parish over the next 3-5 years. Here is an outline of this process:
Formation of a Representative Strategic Task Force (early June)
Draft of a Strategic Plan (end of August)
Final Strategic Plan Approved (mid-September)
Comprehensive Campaign, Planning/Feasibility Study, Begins (mid September)
Strategic Plan shared with All Parishioners (end of September)
Operational/Working Plan Developed by Key Staff (October)
Comprehensive Campaign Begins (if advisable, Jan. 2024)
Needless to say, the survey results and the subsequent strategic plan represent an ambitious project for our parish’s future. While challenging, I believe it can also be exciting as we move forward together imagining how to live our Catholic faith meaningfully in the 21st century. Let us live out the aspirations of our Mission Statement, namely to be a Jesuit Catholic Parish that welcomes all to accompany one another in Christ, celebrate God’s love and transform lives.