Updated again Tuesday evening
Jonathan Wynne-Jones has a report in the Sunday Telegraph headlined ‘Poor quality’ of vicars alarms Church leaders.
This is based on a Ministry Division report entitled Quality and Quantity Issues in Ministry.
…It found that there are “serious concerns” at the top of the Church hierarchy over the quality of its clergy.
The internal report suggests that the standards of new clergy has dropped, because of the demands on the Church to fill vacant posts, while many vicars who have been in the job several years have lost their energy and enthusiasm.
To tackle the problems, the Church is to vet new applicants for ordination more vigorously and is considering changing the selection criteria and a pay review…
…The report, which was produced by the Ministry Division, the Church body responsible for staff issues, reveals deep anxiety amongst bishops over the competence of its paid ministers.
A survey of diocesan bishops found that one-third believe that more than half of current clergy – as many as 6,000 – are unable to cope with the demands of the job.
In addition, 90 per cent of the bishops believe that a third of the new intake of clergy do not have the necessary gifts and abilities…
Sunday evening update
Dave Walker has a roundup of responses on other blogs.
Tuesday evening update
Bishop Alan Wilson has written an informative article at Vicarage Allsorts: Clergy Supply. This shows that we have slightly more clergy than we did in 1950. One of the main reasons is that we now have far more “active retired” clergy than before, 4468 vs. 1262. (Click on the graphic in his article to get the numbers larger.)
And he has written a further article, Vicarage Allsorts: Clergy Quality.
Since Chaucer’s time there’s been public anxiety about this subject. 200 years ago Sidney Smith lamented the decline in the quality of clergy since the enforcement of residence was preventing gentlemen from desiring ordination. In the roaring 20’s, Hensley Henson bemoaned the decline in the quality of ordinands since the first world war. The document quoted in last week’s Sunday Telegraph, however, is barking up a very different tree. A more accurate headline than “poor quality of vicars alarms church leaders” would probably be “desperation to inject alarm into drab HR questionnaire twits journalist.”
As Dave Walker notes, Bishop Pete Broadbent also supplied further information here, i.e. in the comments below.