Completed Research Projects & Occasional papers

As research projects are finalised and completed, and reach a form approved by the committee, they are published on this page. In addition to research projects on a variety of themes, the Bishop Perry Institute also commissions and publishes occasional research papers in applied ministry, which are also published here.

Making sense of the generational decline of Anglican identity  

This project seeks to understand generational growth and decline in commitment to the Anglican Church through mixed methods of analysis. The quantitative data is drawn from Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data from 1981 through to 2016. Reference is also made to the 2009 Australian Survey of Social Attitudes (AuSSA), the 2014 Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia Survey (HILDA) and the Gallup poll from 1961. The report begins by using census data to map patterns of Anglican affiliation for the 35-year period of 1981 to 2016, a time of great change for the Anglican Church. The census measures religious affiliation. Examining religious identity or adherence is a useful way of mapping religious change over time, and for understanding the vibrancy of a particular religious community or group.

The Parish Growth Project 2017 

The purpose of this project is to seek to learn what insights about parish life from across the Diocese of Melbourne, especially in regards to parish growth, might be gained using the large bank of numerical data provided by parishes to the diocese, and made publicly available through the annual diocesan year-book. The researchers analysed a fifteen-year period 1996-2011, which corresponds to the national gathering of census data, to identify the common factors facilitating growth in parish settings.

A little compendium of Australian Anglican diocesan statistics 

The compendium, compiled by Melbourne Anglican layperson and statistician Colin Reilly, is a resource to both the national church and individual dioceses within it, bringing together a vast collection of data from a variety of sources on a range of matters related to the life and ministry of the Anglican Church of Australia. The compendium will be a valuable resource for researchers in multiple ways, providing as it does an unparalleled and rich source of data relating to the Anglican Church of Australia, and will also be helpful to all seeking to understand the past, and current, state of the church, in order plot a way forward into the future. 


A Rewarding Life

A research project undertaken by The Revd Dr David Powys and Lay Canon Colin Reilly, presented to the Synod of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne in October 2015. The report presents findings from a survey of priests ordained in the Diocese of Melbourne between 1970 and 2013. It covers the sense of call, background and prior experience of priests, their ecclesial identity, the challenges they face, their hopes, fears, expectations and support in ministry, and indicators of their wellbeing. Questions are posed arising from the data, particularly in relation to the future supply of parish leaders in the diocese. The report is accompanied with a summary of data from the survey classified by gender, period of ordination as priest, age group when ordained, and age group now.


Messy Church

The first part, of the two part project into the Messy Church phenomenon, as it is being experienced in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne, was completed in late 2014. The researchers were the husband and wife team of The Revd Alexander Ross and The Revd Kirsty Ross. 


Parish Pilot Project 

A report on the impact of the Pilot program for parish growth in the Diocese of Melbourne 2012-2013, undertaken by The Revd Canon Richard Trist (Dean of the Anglican Institute, Ridley College Melbourne). Completed in late 2014. The report provides a detailed analysis of the imapct of the parish pilot project initiative in the Diocese of Melbourne during the first two years of its implementation, through an empirical study of selected participants.  


Factors Impacting Pastoral Ministry Satisfaction

A research paper by Paul Shi, exploring the factors that impact on pastoral ministry satisfaction among English and Chinese speaking Ministers of Religion, with analysis of the particular factors that make the greatest difference for those in active ministry. Prepared for the Melbourne School of Theology, the Bishop Perry Institute assisted in making the survey integral to the research available to clergy in the Anglican tradition. The results are published with the permission of Mr Shi.


Youth Ministry

The Christian Research Association was commissioned to examine the factors that contribute to the vitality of youth ministry in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne. It undertook this research through case studies in eight churches, selected with the assistance of senior people in each region of the Diocese to represent a range of geographical locations in which there was some vitality in youth ministry. Researchers visited the eight churches between November 2014 and August 2015, interviewing youth leaders, youth, vicars and parents, and attending weeknight youth activities and Sunday services.


The social and demographic context  

The make-up of the population of Melbourne and the ways people make a living and see the world have changed significantly. Many of those changes are reflected in the changes of the religious profile which is one of the best indicators of how the overall culture is changing. This paper, by Dr Philip Hughes of the Christian Research Centre, begins by discussing the changes in the religious profile of Melbourne and Geelong, and then proceeds to an examination of  the other aspects of change: immigration, ethnic background, family life and occupations. It concludes by looking at what might be some of these implications for the shape of Christian communities in the future.


Clergy supply, deployment and attrition in the Diocese of Melbourne

A comprehensive report by researcher and statistician Colin Reilly. This report provides data derived from an analysis of the the 1961, 1971, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011 and 2014 national clergy lists, together with the diocesan Year Book, and other sources, to compile an historic picture of clergy supply and attrition over time.


Multicultural Ministry 

A research project borne out of extended practical experience, on capacity building among the Karen community in the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne.

Confessing their Faith 

An enquiry into the meaning Anglicans confirmed as adults give to their confirmation, and the place of confirmation in their faith journey. A thesis undertaken by Dr Ian Savage.