I hope you’re having a great week. As you know, we took a parish-wide survey a few months ago. This was part of a much larger effort of strategic planning for the future of the parish. Relying upon the demographic data, financial information, survey results, the needs of the parish, and the recommendations of the committee formed for this purpose, a strategic plan was developed for the upcoming year. That plan will be communicated to parishioners on the weekend of July 26th and 27th. Included in this posting are the results of the survey. Thank you once again for taking the time to complete the survey. It was a great help in seeing how we can best fulfill our mission. Some of the questions asked for specific, individual comments beyond the multiple choice answers. For a variety of reasons, the individual comments are not included in this report, although they were considered in the planning process. You can get a sense of the individual comments from the “wordles” after the various questions.
I hope the following comments and observations will be helpful:
* There is a lot of information in the report. As it was explained to us, the vision cards and weighted scores – the information on the first few pages of the report – are the data that is most pertinent and helpful in giving a “snapshot” glimpse of people’s thoughts and insights. They can be confusing and required some additional explanation, so you will want to review them carefully for an accurate picture. Some of the scores were low simply because we do not currently have that information or that group in our parish. Also, please be aware that some of the responses were time-sensitive. I’m sure the survey would look different, for better or for worse, if taken today.
*The Vision Cards are an attempt to summarize people’s answers to the survey questions in key categories and to give an idea of where the parish ideally should be in those areas. On a few of the questions for which we were flagged for concern, the reason is because of the high percentage of neutral responses. Most people, when they did not have enough information to respond to a question, would respond “Neutral”. For example, marriage preparation was flagged as “concerning”, but 47% of people responded “Neutral” to that question. This doesn’t mean it is not an area for concern, but it does put things into perspective. The same is true in other areas, so you will want to review the “Neutral” percentage in the various categories.
* The “wordles”, which attempt to give a snapshot, visual representation of the individual responses to each question might be helpful to many. The words that were most often used in response are shown. If the word was more frequently used, it is depicted as larger than the others. The “wordles” can perhaps also be confusing. They are just showing what words are most frequently used in the responses. For example, in the question that says, “What could be deterring people from coming to Saint Timothy’s?”, one of the largest words is “people”. The responses, of course, weren’t saying that people generally were deterring attendance, but the responses might have said “People need to be more welcoming” or “The people are great but the facilities need attention” or “Father needs to listen to the people more” and all would simply translate as “People”. This can give an inaccurate representation of the comments. However, the “wordles” do attempt to give a helpful, visual representation and summary of hundreds of comments into one neat, easy-to-read format.
*You’ll notice a few words frequently appear in the “wordles”. One of them is “don”. This is not a person but rather a representation of people frequently using the word “Don’t”. There are other examples of this.
*Overall, as you can see, people are happy with the parish and with the school. There is a general response of satisfaction in many of the key areas of parish and school life. This is especially true in light of this being an anonymous survey. I’m grateful that so many people responded to this survey. Thank you. Of course, there are areas for improvement and areas that need to be addressed. That is exactly what we hope to do in the strategic plan that will be unveiled in a few weeks. That plan can’t address everything, it is only for the upcoming year, and it is based on information and insights beyond just the survey, but the plan will attempt to address the concerns and needs of the parish in a way that is focused on our mission and vision.
I hope all is well with you. Please let me know if you have any questions. Here is the link to the survey results: St. Timothy, Maple Lake GROW Survey Report No Comments