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.