Comments: Ministry Statistics 2016

So four bishops looking after less than 4% of parishes...

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 12:39pm BST

There are 111 bishops, according to the stats so that seems not unreasonable.

Posted by Neil Patterson at Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 3:13pm BST

I presume, Charles, that you are referring to Extended Episcopal Ministry as reported on page 22 of the main PDF report.

The stats there are loaded with caveats, but it would be good if more accurate figures could be obtained. I hope further efforts to do so will be made. I suspect the total of 447 parishes is an underestimate of parishes that have sought and obtained EEM, and there are of course numerous parishes that have not done so because their diocesan was, or is, a non-ordainer of women as priests.

Two of the seven bishops listed on that page (Wakefield, Burnley) are of course normal suffragan/area bishops who have very substantial responsibilities beyond those parishes seeking EEM from them. I'm less clear about the other diocesan responsibilities of Fulham.

The original three PEVs each have a substantial number of parishes to care for, spread over a very large geographical area, and I don't see how that task could possibly be undertaken by fewer PEVs. The more recently appointed Bishop of Maidstone's number will no doubt increase as time goes by.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 3:13pm BST

With opinions like Charles Read's doing the rounds, mutual flourishing the place of minorities in the C of E has a great future.

Posted by Will Richards at Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 3:14pm BST

Will, you don't know what my opinion is, but it includes this: we have made generous provision for those who feel unable to receive the ministry of ordained women.

Posted by Charles Read at Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 5:25pm BST

would be interesting to see the breakdown of age profile by gender and see whether the historic trend of younger men/older women has changed

Posted by paul at Wednesday, 27 September 2017 at 11:29pm BST

It was predicted long ago that the ministry would eventually become a female profession like nursing, where it will become more difficult to attract men. Perhaps these statistics show the beginning of this prediction.

Posted by FrDavidH at Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 7:46am BST

Paul, the data is there on page 8 of the report. It does not look like the historical position has changed - still younger men and older women. Maybe due to a lack of role models (still so very few senior women in the C of E)

I hope, FrDavidH, you're not implying that is a bad thing? It's just the pendulum swinging back.
The current trend is towards more men in nursing.

Posted by Cathy at Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 1:45pm BST

"It was predicted long ago that the ministry would eventually become a female profession like nursing, where it will become more difficult to attract men" - FrDavidH

And will it become/Is it already very much like nursing, in that a significant number of those men who are attracted into the profession/vocation are gay?


Posted by Simon Dawson at Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 1:50pm BST

I think an eventual gender imbalance would be very bad thing, Cathy. The number of male nurses stands at around 11 per cent. If this were replicated in the ministry of the future, it would be very sad.

Posted by FrDavidH at Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 2:12pm BST

It was not clear to me from the mass of statistics how far the CofE has got towards its target of increasing the number of ordinands by 50%. Does anyone know?

Posted by Paul Waddington at Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 2:39pm BST

Role models for girls, Cathy? And what about role models for boys? Primary school teachers mostly women. More women going into parish ministry. But no matter, for soon church and parish and ministry will be but vague memories of the elderly. One could say that the all male priesthood didn't attract many boys, so clergy gender doesn't much matter. Life abundant is more easily to be had these days in this culture from social and sports and hobby groups than from churchy stuff. The gym I go to is "church" for many of us. There's support, companionship, common purpose, mutuality, and no harping on about sin.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Thursday, 28 September 2017 at 11:30pm BST

I wonder what the gender balance is in the Nordic Churches which have ordained women for much longer than the Church of England.Can anyone help? Might be useful as a pointer to future trends.

Posted by Perry Butler at Friday, 29 September 2017 at 8:49am BST

Nine years ago this article in The Local (Sweden) showed a similar trend to women's ordination in today's CofE.
https://www.thelocal.se/20080128/9793

Posted by FrDavidH at Friday, 29 September 2017 at 10:16am BST

It would be good if we men could take responsibility for our own contemporary social and vocational challenges without speaking negatively about/blaming women for what is happening.

Posted by David Runcorn at Friday, 29 September 2017 at 5:19pm BST

It seems to me that women have been partially filling gaps which would otherwise have been catastrophic on current models of ministry and have enabled the church (including traditional catholics and conservative evangelicals, but the rest of us too) to duck some existential challenges. Some in our church feel these things - "things fall apart, the centre cannot hold" - I think it will take a movement of the Spirit rather than human endeavour, or co-option of the Spirit to human programmes or human imagination to shape the future of the church in England.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Friday, 29 September 2017 at 8:52pm BST

I tend towards the view taken by Fr Monkhouse that gym membership is more meaningful to many than the CofE. I also can't understand why gay men would still be attracted to an organisation that discriminates against them (as Simon Dawson, above) suggests. I suspect that, just as the majority of congregations are mainly women, the ministry will become a female vocation. A Church run by women FOR women.

Posted by FrDavidH at Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 9:24am BST

Mr Runcorn, I agree. I do my best to encourage men to become primary school teachers. And nurses. And doctors (men are now outnumbered in many medical schools by women). And medical academics. I tend these days to be silent about encouraging them towards ordination.

Posted by Stanley Monkhouse at Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 2:27pm BST

FrDavidH The majority of churchgoers in the Church of England have been women for a long time, I think - well before women could be ordained. There have always been majority male enclaves (and since people experience the church through the lens of the part they attend, and tend to extrapolate the whole from their own experience, this gives some people distorted views of the whole church). Since the stats show that ordinations over the last few years have been essentially 40% women to 60% men, I am not sure that your fears are grounded in accurate analysis of data.

Posted by Mark Bennet at Saturday, 30 September 2017 at 11:39pm BST

The Church of Sweden - headed by a partnered gay woman - has been ordaining female priests for over 50 years. The majority of parish priests are now women. I believe this trend will eventually appear in the CofE despite what may be extrapolated from statistics.

Posted by FrDavidH at Sunday, 1 October 2017 at 11:19am BST

Dear FrDavidH..the Archbishop of Uppsala is a woman, but she is married to a man. I think you are thinking about the Bishop of Stockholm.

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 2 October 2017 at 7:52am BST

Yes Perry. Thank you for the correction.

Posted by FrDavidH at Monday, 2 October 2017 at 12:33pm BST
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