Thinking Anglicans

Church of England Ministry Statistics 2012-2015

Updated Sunday morning

The Church of England has today released new Ministry Statistics giving trends in ministry over the period between 2012 and 2015: Ministry Statistics 2012-2015. There is also a short commentary provided by the Venerable Julian Hubbard, Director of Ministry, and detailed Diocesan tables in a separate excel file. There is also a press release, copied below.

Press coverage includes:

Harriet Sherwood The Guardian C of E in ageing clergy crisis with 25% of ministers aged over 60

Aaron James Premier Church of England: We need to Rev up clergy numbers

Rose Hudson-Wilkin and Peter Ould were interviewed on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning (starting at 1hr 21min).

Ian Paul and Peter Ould write about the figures here: Do we have enough vicars?

Update

Jeremy Fletcher has written The Church of England’s Middle Aged Spread.

David Keen has written The Leading of the 5,000 part 2 – vocations and canaries.

Church of England press release

Church of England releases new Ministry Statistics

The Church of England has released new Ministry Statistics giving trends in ministry over the period between 2012 and 2015.

The statistics show that total ordained ministry over the last 4 years has remained stable, with over 20,000 ordained people serving the church in various roles.

The number of stipendiary clergy has fallen from 8,300 to 8,000 between 2012 and 2015.

The proportion of stipendiary clergy who are women increased from 24% in 2012 to 27% in 2015. And 19% of senior staff in 2015 were women, up from 12% in 2012.

Nationally, 13% of parish clergy are aged under 40, while a quarter are 60 and over.

There was an increase in stipendiary clergy from Black and Minority Ethnic communities from 3% in 2012 to 3.4% in 2015.

In his commentary, the Church of England Director of Ministry, Julian Hubbard, writes: “While the number of stipendiary ordinations showed a welcome increase between 2012 and 2015, this is not sufficient to redress the gathering effect of clergy retirements predicted over the next ten years.”

“The statistics on the age and ethnicity of clergy show that we still have some way to go to ensure that the whole cohort fully reflects the demographics of the wider community.”

“The good news is that there is a growing readiness to meet these challenges.”

Mike Eastwood, Director of Renewal and Reform, the Church of England’s major response to falling church attendance, said: “These figures support what we have been saying about the need for renewal and reform in the Church of England.”

“Renewal and Reform is about a message of hope, through changed lives and transformed communities, as people discover their vocation to love God and serve others.

“Renewal and Reform is not a top-down project to fix the church, but a narrative of local hope in God shared throughout the church.”

“As part of Renewal and Reform, we are currently consulting on how we better release the gifts of all Christian leaders in church and wider society, whether ordained or not.”

Notes for editors

The last Ministry Statistics paper was published by the Church of England in 2012. The implementation of a new clergy payroll system in 2012 initially made it more difficult to extract data for ministry statistics.

The Ministry Statistics paper and Commentary are available here.

The Church of England’s Renewal and Reform Facebook page is here.

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Susannah Clark
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“The statistics on the age and ethnicity of clergy show that we still have some way to go to ensure that the whole cohort fully reflects the demographics of the wider community.”

How can you ‘fully reflect’ the demographics of the wider community, if you marginalise lesbian and gay individuals and couples?

Father David
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Father David

As this month I reach the age of 64 the Beatles song comes to mind – “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty four?” One quick and easy way to solve the impending problem would be to rescind the compulsory retiring age of 70 for clergy. Problem solved at a stroke. My predecessor in my previous parish was 90, much loved and still batting for the Lord. I look at the gentlemen at B&Q and the “girls” on the checkout tills at Sainsbury’s and many of them give the appearance of being well into… Read more »

Henry Dee
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Henry Dee

Just a thought about the small percentage of black priests in the CofE. What is the percentage of black pastors in the pentecostal and evangelical type of church? Judging by some of those fantastic gospel choirs I’ve seen I wonder if the preference is to these churches rather than the more staid CofE

Kate
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Kate

We often discuss equality and diversity, usually without the benefit of hard evidence. Here we have it and it is damning. Despite the gender imbalance which needs to be corrected over time, significantly less than 50% of new stipendiary ordinations are female. This is reversed for non-stipendiary positions. In short, men are favoured for paid positions; women are favoured for unpaid ordinations. That’s the least of it though. At least the diversity of the Church in relation to gender and race is important enough to publicise. Disabled and LGBT people are not even on the radar. There is talk of… Read more »

Nicholas Henderson
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Nicholas Henderson

It’s always struck me as odd that the General Synod decided some years ago that all clergy must retire at 70. It seems either a disingenuous way of using retired clergy ‘House for Duty’ etc and not paying them, or a mistake when many could easily work on for years – the Roman Catholics don’t retire until 75. Of course all sorts of arguments are put forward by bishops about ‘clearing away dead wood’ and so on but the secular world no longer has compulsory retirement due to age. Thus far the C of E has managed to dodge statutory… Read more »

Nick Nawrockyi
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Nick Nawrockyi

One of the problems in the Church of England is ageism – and I mean the kind directed against young people. I was 27 when I was ordained and there have been times when I’ve been treated like a child by some people – belittled, described variously as a “baby” or a “twelve-year-old” and had my ability to do my job called into question. If the Church has a vocations problem, it needs to seriously address its attitude to young clergy.

Lorenzo
Guest
Lorenzo

I was ordained at 27 as well. What you said, Nick, sounds ever so true. Twenty years later, I try to be very careful not to lecture younger clergy about the spiritual needs of their own generation.

Dafydd
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Dafydd

“the Roman Catholics don’t retire until 75”

Not quite accurate.

R.C. priests are not eligible for a pension until they are seventy-five, so unless they have private means cannot retire until they reach that age. They are not, however, obliged to do so.

In essence, the age seventy-five for R.C, priests is permissive, whereas for Church of England priests seventy is mandatory.

Kate
Guest
Kate

Maybe the answer to the age thing is to stop stipends at, say 65, but allow people to stay in non-stipendiary ministry. It is a vocation not a job. The stipend can then be used to get a second priest in the parish. Win-win all round.

henry dee
Guest
henry dee

Following on from my earlier post about black priests. Why not recruit from Africa? The Anglican church is strong there and to take ordinands or ordained from there would revitalise us. I would think that quite a few would take the opportunity to do missionary work here ..quite the reverse. The shrine of our lady at ladyewell now has 2 African rc priests so it does work. Another point is why should we expect that priests would want to continue past 70 when bishops don’t even have to reach that age before they retire. We don’t have to go past… Read more »

Jeremy Pemberton
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Jeremy Pemberton

Has anyone actually tested whether the compulsory retirement age for clergy in the C of E has the force of law? It is illegal to retire people on the grounds of age in other forms of work. People work for as long as they choose unless their competency is shown to have diminished to the point where they can no longer do their job. I know that the bishops’ compulsory retirement age is set in law, but I am not sure that the clergy’s is, unless some canon lawyer knows differently. What happens in the world of work is that… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
Guest

“Maybe the answer to the age thing is to stop stipends at, say 65, but allow people to stay in non-stipendiary ministry. It is a vocation not a job. The stipend can then be used to get a second priest in the parish. Win-win all round.” – Kate Kate, this is already more than a possibility in ACANZP (New Zealand). However, such a priest (non-stipendiary)can not be expected to ‘manage’ a larger parish, that usually takes the ministry of a full-time stipendiary priest. Older clergy, like myself, at 86, can be trusted, for instance, to help facilitate the Daily Masses,… Read more »

Peter Owen
Guest

I set out my understanding of the law on the retirement age for clergy here:

http://www.thinkinganglicans.org.uk/archives/005419.html

As stated there the Ecclesiastical Offices (Age Limit) Measure 1975 does not just apply to bishops.

sjh
Guest
sjh

“Maybe the answer to the age thing is to stop stipends at, say 65, but allow people to stay in non-stipendiary ministry. It is a vocation not a job. The stipend can then be used to get a second priest in the parish. Win-win all round.” – Kate One of the problems as I see it is that the vocation of a priest is seen by the wider church not as something to be nurtured and thankful for, but as something to be exploited. Clergy are expected to work all hours with little respect for themselves their own needs or… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

Father Ron, I think stipends are being misused. They should only be paid to allow someone to minister who otherwise would have no means of financial support. So once a priest qualifies for state pension for example, then they should be disbarred from receiving a stipend. The question on at what age a priest should cease to manage a parish should be an entirely separate question based on capability. Peter, presumably the law could be changed but so far as I can see the measure you linked neither addresses the retirement age of priest nor addresses whether or not a… Read more »

Kate
Guest
Kate

sjh, you write as though it is a job. It isn’t. It is vocational service. I don’t agree that the emphasis should be on keeping priests in post. I think the Buddhist approach is much better and we should aim for a substantial proportion of church members to spend two or three years as priests. It would mean simplifying the bureaucracy and training so that people could take up the role with just a couple of weeks’ training. With the support of a community of former priests to turn to for advice, more shouldn’t be needed. We need to knock… Read more »

Adrian Judd
Guest
Adrian Judd

Jeremy, The statutory retirement legislation has not been tested in court to my knowledge. Part of the reason for this is the concern for decent pensions and the contractual right to retire at 65. Spending a hundred thousand pounds or so to test something which undermines the need for a dignified old age is not something that anyone is in a hurry to do. On the other hand there is a long term plan to test this in court in 2036 – if the statutory retirement age has not been removed by then in response to the projected declining numbers… Read more »

robert ian williams
Guest
robert ian williams

These statistics show how the current episcopal selection in the C of E is fairer for women, than it is for Anglicans in the USA , Ireland , New Zealand, Scotland and Wales..it took 20 years before they had a woman bishop in the Church of Ireland and then because of an impasse.