Jonathan Petre, the religion correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, clearly does not read this blog. In today’s Telegraph he repeats the erroneous figures for projected Church of England ordinations in 2005 that were published three weeks ago in the Sunday Times.
My full discussion of the error is here, but in brief the latest published figures for ordinands do not include the substantial number who started a two-year period of training in 2003.
Last weekend’s Sunday Times has an article in which it claims that
Next year [ie 2005] the official projection of the Church of England’s planned ordinations is 124 women and 123 men.
The article does not give the source for these figures, but it possible to reconstruct how the authors arrived at them, and also discover that they are a serious underestimate.
First. Where do the figures come from?
Statistics of Licensed Ministers 2002 (GS Misc 721) (issued in November 2003, and so the latest available) includes figures for “Expected numbers of ordinations, 2003-2005” broken down by college and course. For 2005 the totals are
Figure 10: Stipendiary/NSM
Colleges: 46 men, 17 women
Courses: 36 men, 55 women
Figure 11: Permanent Non-stipendiary
Colleges: 0 men, 1 woman
Courses: 41 men, 51 women
Totals: 123 men, 124 women
Those are the figures given by the Sunday Times.
Second. Why are the figures a serious underestimate?
Because there is a very important footnote to Figure 10 in small print (which the authors of the article have obviously overlooked):
Figures for 2005 represent only those currently undertaking three year courses and will, therefore, be significantly lower than the number of ordinands in 2004.
So none of those who started a two-year period of training in 2003 are included. I don’t know how many such people there are, but I do know that they form a substantial proportion of ordinands.
For comparison, the expected number of ordinations in 2004 in the 2001 statistics was 239. By 2002 this had increased by 223 to 462. So it is likely that the number of ordinations in 2004 will be similar to the 450 to 500 seen in recent years.
Note: None of the above figures include OLMs (ordained local ministers). The published statistics do not include any information on the expected numbers of ordinations in this category.
Each week Education Guardian offers advice to someone wanting a career change. Today it’s a disillusioned gay vicar and the advice starts:
Being gay or disillusioned are not barriers to a career in the church. Indeed, doubt is one of the most sacred tenets of Anglicanism: the more you question your faith, the more devout you are.
In today’s Guardian, Christopher Rowland writes about Peter and Paul rejecting precedent and tradition in the light of experience.
Christopher Rowland is Dean Ireland’s professor of exegesis of holy scripture at Oxford University.
Buffoon, Judas character, degraded parasitical tool - just some of the name-calling in this story of a disappointed candidate for ordination in today’s Guardian.
By the way, it dates back to 1818.
You’ve probably seen that headline over more articles than you want to read, but don’t overlook Alison Webster’s article in today’s Guardian. A couple of quotes:
Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, for instance, who wrote a vitriolic piece attacking lesbians, gay men and their supporters in Church Times last July, is often assumed (incorrectly) by Christians in the UK to speak for the whole African continent.
When putting together the post-apartheid constitution for South Africa, the ANC recognised that justice is indivisible, and outlawed discrimination on grounds of race, gender and sexuality.
Ms Webster is social responsibility adviser for the Oxford diocese.
Theo Hobson, writing in today’s Guardian, says that “We are witnessing the end of the Church of England”. This is not for the reasons normally given, but because of differing understanding of the concept of the church. “The evangelicals, ever since the reformation, have been lukewarm about the church’s institutional authority. They see it as a means to an end” - and that is all.
Michael Hare Duke, a former Bishop of St Andrews, writes in The Guardian about how today’s thought world has eroded assumptions of authority.