The Book of Common Prayer is still a bone of contention in the Episcopal Church. The new 1979 version has gained a little ground among the laity and lost a little with the clergy.
United Church of Christ membership includes a disproportionate number of persons over 65.
American attitudes toward Jews and the state of Israel have not varied significantly in the past 4 1/2 years.
Family and moral standards are the two most important factors in buttressing feelings of self-worth of Americans. Leisure-time activities and status rank lowest.
Those are but a few of the findings of surveys released this past week and commissioned by religious organizations, which are showing a growing penchant for polling. All but the United Church of Christ study were done by the Gallup organization.
The study of Episcopalian attitudes was commissioned by the Prayer Book Society (the new and foreshortened name of what used to be the Society for the Preservation of the Book of Common Prayer), which continues to battle for the 1928 version of the prayer book, although two successive conventions of the Episcopal Church have approved a modernized version.
The survey of American attitudes toward Jews was commissioned by the American Jewish Committee.
The self-esteem study, the most comprehensive and most unusual of the four, was financed by California television preacher Robert Schuller who has built a religious empire on encouraging self-esteem through what he calls "possibility thinking."
The results of the Prayer Book survey were reported here this week by George Gallup himself, who identified himself as an Episcopal layman, active in a Princeton, N.J., parish. He called the prayer book "the key issue of the church today."
At the same time, he said "most Episcopalians feel good about their church in the abstract" and "are optimistic about the future of the church."
But he said there is a gulf in "attitudes and beliefs" between clergy and laity in the church.
He cited figures from the survey which reflected that difference. A 1979 poll showed 62 percent of the laity favoring the 1928 prayer book, he said; three years later that figure had dropped to 57 percent. Conversely, in 1979, 80 percent of the clergy "favored the new book," he said, but only 72 percent preferred the new one in the poll taken earlier this year.
The 1979 convention, in adopting the revised prayer book as the norm for the denomination, also specified that the 1928 book might be used in parishes on occasion "under the authority of the bishop as chief pastor and liturgical officer." Gallup said his survey shows that 81 percent of the laity "say fellow Episcopalians preferring the  prayer book should be allowed to use it," but that only 60 percent of the clergy approve such an option.
The self-esteem study for Schuller, reported in an 80-page booklet published by the Gallup Organization, including these findings:
* Age, race, marital status and education are strong predicters of self-esteem; a white, married college graduate between the ages of 30 and 49 is most likely to think highly of him or herself.
* Persons who feel a close relationship to their parents are more likely to esteem themselves highly than those who don't have such a relationship.
* Persons with high self-esteeem are more likely than those at the opposite end of the esteem scale to believe they possess qualities of leadership and trustworthiness. Men are more likely than women to view themselves as leaders (36 and 26 percent respectively). But women are more likely to be assocated with trustworthiness than men, nonwhites more than whites, and the less educated more than college grads.
In an introduction to the report of the study findings, Schuller observed that "the lssons we can learn from this study could lead the way to a new Reformation". Churches, he continued, "must seek out and help those with low self-esteem, the 'hurting' three of ten Americans whose spiritual, physical health and general contributions to society are adversely affected by their own self-concepts."
The United Church of Christ study focused on the fact that a large part of a generation is missing from its membership. While persons between 15 and 34 account for approximately 45 percent of the total adult population, only 24 percent of UCC worshippers are in that age range.
The survey on attitudes toward Jews found that Americans do not see Jews as excessively powerful in comparison to other special interest groups. Nine percent said they believed Jews had too much influence. By contrast, the figure was 43 percent for labor unions, for example, 42 percent for business and 24 percent for Arab interests.