LOMBARD, IL, July 14, 2022 – The Greek Orthodox Metropolis of Chicago today announced the results of a survey undertaken as part of the Metropolis’ Strategic Plan to assess the current level of engagement in worship, sacramental rites and parish life. The survey results will be used by the Metropolis to develop an Enhanced Worship Engagement plan to overcome barriers and improve levels of engagement and accessibility of church services by our Orthodox Christian community.
The questionnaire was distributed to a diverse spectrum of Orthodox Christians at varying life stages and levels of parish involvement, including those who do not attend or have left the Church. The goal of the survey was to assess factors that meaningfully impact reported levels of engagement in the worship experience. The Metropolis received over 700 responses to the online questionnaire.
“We see it as nothing short of a great honor to be given the opportunity to reintroduce the faithful and faith seekers to the fundamentals of our faith,” said Metropolis Strategic Plan team leaders Fr. Dustin Lyon and Amy Tsarwhas. “The benefits of worship must not be taken for granted. Few things in the life of the Church are as important.”
The survey responses revealed four areas of consideration for increasing participation in and improving the quality of worship:
- Enhance the understanding of the Divine Liturgy by utilizing a language that is representative of those attending the service, and by creating educational programs to explain the symbolism and meaning of the Divine Liturgy.
- Foster a greater sense of community and inclusion within our parishes and their ministries by finding ways of welcoming everyone, and by expanding the roles of women and girls in our services.
- Improve the quality of the sermons so that people can more fully integrate their everyday life with their spiritual life.
- Refine the quality of the music and singing within our parishes since music is such an integral part of our worship experience.
“Because we are the ancient Church of the Apostles, there’s always an opportunity, and sometimes an imperative, to have a more profound appreciation for the Holy Sacraments and services,” said His Eminence Metropolitan Nathanael. “I am grateful to the Strategic Plan Goal Team for the humility and sincerity by which they undertook this responsibility. The entire Metropolis will benefit from their work now and for many years to come.”
The complete results of the survey can be accessed here. The Metropolis’ Enhanced Worship Engagement Goal Team is currently preparing specific recommendations for Metropolitan Nathanael’s consideration.