Records and original data of the Inter-Church Process 'Not Strangers But Pilgrims' survey,'Lent '86', and related research papers, 1986

Scope and Content

The collection comprises:

  • Published works including What on earth is the church for? (Lt P).
  • Reports (Lt R).
  • Computer printouts (Lt D).
  • Lent '86 questionnaires (Lt Q).
  • Councils of Churches questionnaires (Lt C).
  • Other papers relating to the conducting of the survey (Lt S).

Administrative / Biographical History

In May 1985, leaders of 32 churches in England, Scotland and Wales agreed to launch a three-yearInter-Church Process of prayer, reflection and debate on the nature and purpose of the Church in thelight of its mission. The Process was called 'Not Strangers But Pilgrims'. It was decided that thefirst year should involve consultation with people locally to explore their views about churches andfaith, so that this evidence of religious observance could be fed into wider national reflection anddiscussion.

A million people took part in the local consultation process in a series of group discussionsduring Lent in 1986; the process was entitled 'Lent '86'. Local churches and 57 radio stations wereinvolved in the process which was backed up by the submission of 100,000 questionnaires. The resultsof the questionnaires were processed by a trained group of people across Great Britain, and thenstatistically analysed by Trumedia Study Oxford Limited. These results were summarised by Judy M.Turner-Smith of Trumedia and published in part one of Views from the pews: Lent '86 and localecumenism, a report published for 'Not Strangers but Pilgrims' by the British Council ofChurches and The Catholic Truth Society, and in What on earth is the church for?, publishedby Trumedia.

In conjunction with Lent '86, a full survey of local ecumenism in England was conducted. Thesurvey involved 600 Councils of Churches, 44 county sponsoring bodies and 450 local ecumenicalprojects and took place in early 1986. The results demonstrated the pattern of church going inEngland and suggested paths for greater co-operation between churches. Hugh Cross, then EcumenicalOfficer for England, summarised these results in part two of Views from the pews.


The collection has been divided by document type into series. The questionnaires are divided by region.

Access Information

ACCESS: Accessible to registered readers only by advanceappointment and some series are restricted pending full cataloguing.

REPROGRAPHIC: Reprographic copies can be supplied for educational use and private study purposesonly, depending on access status and the condition of the documents.

Other Finding Aids

This description is the only finding aid available for the collection. Copyright in thedescription belongs to The University of Nottingham.

Conditions Governing Use

COPYRIGHT: Permission to make published use of any material from this collection must be soughtin advance in writing from the Keeper of the Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections(email TheDepartment will try to assist in identifying copyright owners but this can be difficult and theresponsibility for copyright clearance before publication ultimately rests with the person wishingto publish.


Custodial History

The original data generated by the 'Lent '86' local consultation process for England was acquiredby The University of Nottingham's Department of Manuscripts and Special Collections between Augustand December 1986. Data sets for other regions were separately disposed of. A further, small depositof records relating to the survey of local ecumenism was received by the Department in December1995.

Related Material

Church of England Record Centre: Archive of the British Council of Churches, c.1911-1990. Reference:BCC


  • Inter-Church Process 'Not Strangers But Pilgrims', Views from the pews: Lent '86 and local ecumenism (British Council of Churches and The Catholic Truth Society: London, 1986)
  • Judy Turner-Smith, What on earth is the church for? (Trumedia Study Oxford Limited: Oxford, 1986)


Geographical Names