Monday, June 2, 2014

Who and Where are We?

AS part of my follow-up from a discussion at our last Council meeting I was reviewing the Environics report for this area that was prepared in January of 2008. This report looks at a variety of demographic data.  Here is some of what it says:
  1. the population number for the service area in the report is 37 277 people or 14 132 households.  Census data suggests 11.1% of those people consider themselves United Church folk.  That would be just under 4 150 folk.
  2. the most common household type in the area is large upscale suburban families, followed by low income young singles and single parents in urban areas and new middle-income exurban families
  3. the least common household type is young lower-middle-class urban singles and couples
Teh report then looks at some of the defining characteristics of the United Church and how they interact with social values of the population in this area.  There is some room for discussion about what these mean for how we plan our programs.  But for now I will highlight what some of those social values are.

The top ten social value scores are (note that these scores are comparing the percentage of folks in the Grande Prairie area who hold these values to the percentage of the Canadian population in general, so if the numbers were equal the score would be 100 -- at least I think that is the methodology):
  1. Adaptability to Complexity in Life -- 132
  2. Importance of Price -- 126
  3. Need for Escape -- 120
  4. Enthusiasm for Consumption -- 119
  5. Confidence in Advertising -- 115
  6. Equality of the Sexes -- 114
  7. Canadian Identity -- 113
  8. Everyday Ethics -- 113
  9. Social Darwinism -- 113
  10. Cultural Fusion -- 111
The ten values with the lowest scores are (starting from the bottom)
  1. Ecological Alarmism -- 79
  2. Primacy of Environmental Protection -- 81
  3. Belonging to the Global Village -- 81
  4. Rejection of Authority -- 82
  5. New Social responsibility -- 82
  6. Civil Disobedience -- 82
  7. Spiritual Quest --84
  8. Meaning of Life -- 84
  9. Fulfillment through Work -- 84
  10. Ecological Consumption -- 84
I have definitions of these Social Values in the office.

These statistics are meant to help us get a clearer picture of the world in which we are being the church.  They may suggest what issues people want or need to talk about.   As we look at who God is calling us to be, how God is calling us to be the church we may want to consider this information to determine how we live out that calling {remembering that the primary question is always who is God calling us to be}.

It was not included in the Environics report (that I can find) but we also need to take into account that Grande Prairie is a very young community.  Mayor Given talked about that fact in this blog post from 2 years ago.  How does that reality shape how we are the church in 2014?

What do you think?

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