Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts


The CAT (Congregation Assessment Tool) has changed my Ministry for good. I’ve been doing this work for almost seven years now. Having solid evidence for discernment – especially, but not exclusively, for clergy transitions has been fabulous.  – The Rev. Dr. Richard M. Simpson,
Canon to the Ordinary (February 2020)

St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Austin, Texas

The Congregation Assessment Tool provided an outside view of our church and helped us put into words who we are with both our strengths and our weaknesses. The CAT provided powerful insights while being very user friendly and accessible. (January 2020)

Board of Directors, Rochester Montessori School

We could not be more pleased with the work by Emily and Holy Cow! Consulting. We engaged them to do a “Listening Post” of our community during a time of leadership transition and needed strategic planning. Emily helped us better understand our organization and how to navigate our next steps. Many surveys will just give you the raw data but Holy Cow!’s survey is strategic and responses are interpreted and analyzed to get to the heart of bigger trends and issues and understanding of your community. We are grateful for their services and expertise. (February 2020)

Grand View United Methodist Church, Dubuque, Iowa

The information [in the CAT] will help us shape our goals for next year. It also gave us insight into the strong traditional roots as well as our flexibility and willingness to change. It was able to show us underlying perceptions and ideas about our church that we were not aware of. (December 2019)

St Mary’s Episcopal Church Hamilton Village, Philadelphia

The greatest benefit of the CAT is: reinforcing leadership’s sense of the strengths and weaknesses in the parish as a whole, showing the areas where energy exists. I recommend it as a good starting place for strategic planning. (November 2019)

Katonah Presbtyerian Church, Katonah, NY

I cannot say how impressed with the service aspect of the organization I am…pay attention to the interpretation of the data because there is gold in there. (November 2019)

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland, OR

Five years ago, Trinity was in the midst of the search for our next dean. As part of the search process, following the best practices in the Episcopal Church, the entire congregation was invited to participate in the CAT (Congregational Assessment Tool) administered by HolyCow! Consulting, a national organization that aids congregations in responding to challenges with data and interpretation. Benchmarked against two thousand congregations across denominations and regions, the CAT is the national leader in providing congregational data. The information we learned from our 2014 survey was the basis not only for Trinity’s Dean Profile and discernment, but also became the genesis for the vestry’s strategic plan. Just about everything we’ve taken on over the past five years, from hiring staff to decisions about property and finance, have been direct results of the information we learned through the CAT survey.

Five years later, it’s time for a check-up…Good decisions often stem from good data, that’s a lesson we’ve learned from our highly-connected, tech-forward world. The more we know, the better we can plan for what lies ahead. (October 2019)

Ladue Chapel, St. Louis, Mo

[The] presentation kept us focused on the data rather than to be tempted to “explain it away.” Use them! Responsive, professional, do for you what you cannot do for yourself. (September 2019)