A CAMPAIGN run by a church to listen to people's troubles has
received nearly 20,000 responses from members of the public in
Norfolk and Suffolk.
The Who Cares? campaign was set up by the Christ Community
Church in Attleborough, Norfolk, after it carried out a small
survey asking people "What hurts the most?"
The Pastor, the Revd Rob Tervet, said that the church was
"overwhelmed by how people opened up. They liked the fact we were
listening to their needs and responding."
The issues raised in the survey were addressed in a series of
talks and then compiled into a book - and the demand for this led
to the project's being taken up by 60 churches across Norfolk and
into Suffolk, and winning the support of the Bishop of Norwich, the
Rt Revd Graham James.
Nearly 20,000 people have now filled in the one-question survey,
asking them to share their difficulties. In one town of 10,000
people, 1000 responded to the survey.
The most common hurts people shared are bereavement, physical
suffering, relationship breakdowns, and disappointments.
Some of the comments from respondents included: "Struggling with
the pain and loss of a loved one and struggling to find my fit in
the world. How to move forward," and "Getting toward old age and
feeling I haven't achieved as much with my life as I would have
Mr Tervet said that the purpose of the campaign was to "share
"Asking just one question doesn't make people open up. But it's
a listening exercise, and it helps churches know what is relevant
to people. It is holding up a mirror to the world, and helps people
in church see the needs of the world around them.
"And we've found that people will come to church if we are
addressing issues that are relevant to their lives. We had one
couple who had filled in the survey come along when we did a talk
on relationship breakdown - and they have stayed with us and come
"Congregations usually don't need encouragement to do good, as
they are doing it already; but they can struggle to share hope and
to share the gospel.
"Churches have responded in practical ways, too - one group of
churches found that people were most concerned about death and
bereavement, and so got together with funeral directors in the area
to see how they could work better together."
A "wall" of responses was created in Norwich, and people stopped
to read them, some in tears, he said.
The project has taken congregations on a journey as they open up
to the needs of people around them, Mr Tervet said.
Groups of parishioners have also been trained to offer
one-to-one support and advice to people responding to the survey,
if it is requested. Churches involved are now training
congregations outside the region who want to take up the