24 January 2002

Fresh research into spiritual hunger of population

The Churches Together in England (CTE) Group of Evangelisation in partnership with Bible Society are to fund a two-year research post to investigate why the church is seen as irrelevant by a spiritually hungry population. Recent research shows that although there has been a decline in regular church attendees, over 60% of the population believe in God, and pray regularly.

Trish McLean has been chosen for the post and speaking of her appointment said: "I bring personal enthusiasm for the mission in the west, inspired by my experiences of working with Youth With a Mission and cultivated during my theological training at London Bible College and Edinburgh University."

The research will cover two main areas: firstly, a mapping exercise to find out organisations and individuals who are engaged with contemporary spirituality. This will be assisted by the resources of the Living Spirituality Network (Churches Together in Britain and Ireland) and the CTE co-ordinating Group on Spirituality. Secondly, a project to explore and evaluate church evangelistic engagement with contemporary spirituality, to identify best models of practice, to offer practical recommendations to the churches and to provide a theological analysis of the relationship between the Gospel and contemporary spirituality.

Trish brings a unique background to the work. Born and brought up by missionary parents in Thailand, she is just completing a PhD at Edinburgh University on the different approaches foreign missionaries and Thai Christians have taken towards Thai Buddhist culture.

Trish spent her primary education at an international and interdenominational school in Malaysia and her secondary education at a Church of England School in the UK. Since then she has had experience of Church of Scotland worship as well as of her own Baptist tradition.

Trish will be based in Lossiemouth and explains: "I have excellent access to Aberdeen University and I am in close proximity to the Findhorn Foundation, one of the European Centre for Contemporary Spirituality outside the church".

Send feedback or suggestions to Trish McLean

Further information from the Bible Society on 01793 418100

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