Well, perhaps that title is inaccurate. I’m already published online–via this blog. But as of this past April, I’m now a published, peer-reviewed author by the Journal of Beliefs and Values.
Anyone who has had the misfortune to hear me talk about my research will know this already. But after a Christmas Questionnaire administered at the Cathedral in 2019, the Canon Theologian, Leslie Francis, tasked me with the digitisation, dissemination, and eventual published academic analysis of the hand-written comments by participants on the final page of the questionnaire.
The process of publishing took over a year; I first organized and narrativised the comments into a coherent structure, then wrote out the method used to analyse the comments, as required by social science research norms. Then was a larger task: the development of an introductory section touching on the science of Cathedral studies, the history of Liverpool Cathedral, and the specific liturgy at which the survey was administered, the Holly Bough Service on the afternoon of the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to research and publish while a YASCer and member of the Tsedaqah Community, with as wise and gracious a mentor as Canon Leslie. His soft toy animal companion, Teddy Horsley (https://teddyhorsley.org/) and my own, Scruffy and Alan, have become good friends as their human partners have corresponded over these past months.
I hope that these research opportunities continue, and it seems they will. I am currently in the midst of other research projects guided by Leslie, not the least of which is a similar article to the Holly Bough but pertaining to the comments from the administration of the same survey at the two Christmas Eve carol services 2019. So far, this promises to be a longer project or even more than one, as well as opportunities touching digital service attendance and different individual themes in the comments in the projects above.
If you’re interested in seeing the fruit of my labour, you can see the article entry on the Taylor and Francis website here: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13617672.2021.1914914?tab=permissions&scroll=top.
This research I find particularly exciting, as it gives meat to bones we often fear are dry and hopeless; the bones of the Church of England have some life in them yet. The participants of the Holly Bough Service told us that their Cathedral is relevant, real, and active for them and their city; in short, Liverpool Cathedral is indeed a place of Encounter with a God who knows and loves each of us.
Thanks for reading this update on my missionary blog! I’m a missionary of The Episcopal Church, serving in Liverpool, UK. Make sure to subscribe at the bottom of the home page to get an email when I next post an update. God bless, and thank you!
Eager to read more? Check out the “Meet the YASCers” page of the website of the Young Adult Service Corps (YASC) of the Episcopal Church to find the blogs of my missionary colleagues: https://www.episcopalchurch.org/YASC/meet-yascers.