Thinking Anglicans

A Programme for Reform and Renewal – Post-Synod Briefing

General Synod members have been sent A Programme for Reform and Renewal – Post-Synod Briefing, written by William Fittall, the Secretary General. The briefing outlines the programme, details what Synod decided last week, and looks ahead to what happens next.

The briefing does not appear to be available on the Church of England website, but David Thomson, the Bishop of Huntingdon, has published it on his website.

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Perry ButlerMichael ChancellorMark BennetPaul RichardsonOlivia Jones Recent comment authors
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Father David
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Father David

Looks like the Archbishops mean business! I only hope that the target of a 50% increase in ordinations is achievable, in order to replace the 40% of clergy who will retiring ere long. It is also good to see an emphasis on the recruitment of younger ordinands to replace old boys like me who have laboured and are currently labouring long and hard in the Lord’s vineyard. I don’t know if the Bishop of Huntingdon has acted out of turn by publishing this document on his website when it isn’t currently available on the official Church of England website? I… Read more »

Olivia Jones
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Olivia Jones

Apologies if I’m missing something very obvious, but how does the intent to increase ordinations by 50% from 2020, mainly with younger candidates, square with the plan in every diocese (as far as I can see) to decrease the numbers of stipendiary clergy posts? I work in one of the relatively well-off dioceses and even we have a plan in place to reduce numbers. Anecdotally, the cohort of stipendiary curates finishing their curacies this year are finding it more difficult than any previous cohort to find jobs. This is despite all the talk of baby-boomer retirements en masse. Is there… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

One point which has been left out of the analysis is that younger ordinands, recently out of university, will be carrying a fair amount of debt via student loans. Unrepayable debt used to be a bar to ordination – but in any event they will not have resources to put towards retirement housing, unless they inherit or have a spouse who works, or other access to capital. That will distort the intake rather and may reduce diversity rather than increasing it.

John
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John

The Archbishops (and others) seem here to be undertaking something commendable and necessary – if it is affordable/realistic (comments above). That fact – if it is a fact – must not stifle efforts to hold them accountable for their wholly unacceptable – even cynical – maltreatment of Jeffrey John. Upholders of decency and honesty in regard to this particular issue must continue to fight.

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

I agree with Olivia Jones.Giving a figure…50%..is a hostage to fortune. Decade of Evangelism? Remember that?

Father David
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Father David

Perry may well be being realistic but surely we can learn from our mistakes with regard to the disastrous Decade of Evangelism? A 50% increase is a considerable target to achieve but consider the alternative – a continuing decline. The powers that be have realised at the eleventh hour that we need more priests to replace the 40% of stipendiary priests soon to retire.

Barry
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Barry

In addition to Olivia Jones’ important questions I would ask whether it has entered the heads of the Archbishops and their fellow bishops to ask how many priestly vocations are being lost due to their continuing injustice toward gay Christians. Most of the younger people I know regard this policy, and those who maintain it, with undisguised contempt, so they will feel unable in good conscience to respond to a call to ordination even if they hear it. It seems a high price to pay simply because Church leaders are desperate to pacify a vocal minority of fundamentalists.

Olivia Jones
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Olivia Jones

I’ve heard people relatively senior in the church, including those responsible for selection and training of ordinands, talking about the imminent retirement of a large number of stipendiary clergy for several years now, Fr David, yet I don’t see it on the ground. The first tranche of baby boomers, those born in 1945/46, will be 69 or 70 this year so should already have gone, but I don’t see a swathe of advertisements to fill their posts. As I said, anecdotally people are having difficulty finding incumbency positions at the moment, while less anecdotally, all the dioceses I know about… Read more »

Paul Richardson
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Paul Richardson

Mark Bennet “they will not have resources to put towards retirement housing, unless they inherit or have a spouse who works, or other access to capital. That will distort the intake rather and may reduce diversity rather than increasing it.” Those of us ordained some 30 years ago (then in our 20s and early 30s) came in without resources to put towards retirement housing – indeed some were encouraged [instructed even]to sell their houses and use the proceeds towards the maintenance of themselves and their families through their time of training. Now, as we face retirement in the next 5-10… Read more »

Mark Bennet
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Mark Bennet

@Paul Richardson: I remember those times, though I was ordained later (a long story). But now young ordinands will have debts you and I never had. And I too share that vocation. I remember, as a lay member of Southwark Board of Finance, arguing that there was a counterpart to the commitment to vocation of the clergy, and that was the commitment of “the rest of us” (the non-ordained) in the longer term. And we didn’t seem to be up to the task. Now I am ordained the argument is self-interested – I made it without knowing where it would… Read more »

Michael Chancellor
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Michael Chancellor

@Barry is right to be concerned about lost vocations. I have learned only this week, from someone who is providing pastoral and strategic support for people in this situation, that those attending BAPs who admit to being gay are not being recommended. Those who collude with the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy are finding the situation unsustainable and leaving full-time ministry in the early years (in some cases) months of ordained life. Are we then to assume that, in the recruitment of ordinands, that the 50% figure means ‘50% more of People Like Us’? As Alasdair Macintyre identified some decades… Read more »

Perry Butler
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Perry Butler

Do we know how many people do leave full time ministry and why? Does MinDiv ever explore this?