Not at all, says Toronto researcher Jane Armstrong, Moderator Rt. Rev. Jordan Cantwell and Bott himself. But all three believe the survey has fostered important discussion.
There are issues. For instance, Bott did not use a random sample. Therefore, Armstrong says, the results cannot be generalized beyond the actual respondents. But, she adds, “It does provide some valuable insights into the views of ministry personnel,” especially because “55 percent of active personnel responded. . . . I was impressed with the response rate.” Armstrong also points to “the whole question of validity,” whether the questions asked accurately reflect the concepts Bott was trying to investigate.
Bott understands he “can’t speculate about the ministers who didn’t
respond,” but sees the survey “as a challenge to further study our
individual and communal beliefs, and as an invitation to ministers to
talk even more about those beliefs.” While a vast majority did not agree
with Vosper’s statement, the responses about belief in and experience
of God varied widely, something Bott finds “exciting.”
Cantwell, who did not respond to the survey, says it “has helped to open up the conversation our church is having about what we believe and how we try to put words and ideas to the ultimately inexpressible experience of Holy Presence.”
She adds, “I hope that the buzz created by this survey will encourage folks throughout the church to continue these conversations.”
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