on Friday, 20 November 2020 at 1.41 pm by Peter Owen
categorised as Church of England, General Synod
The questions (and their answers) for next week’s meeting of the Church of England General Synod have been published.
Question 4: statistics show that of those under 35 entering ordination training in 2019 and 2020, over two-thirds are men. Institutional discrimination? Certainly not healthy or satisfactory.
No, it isn’t. I was encouraged to go forward for selection and start training in my late 20s / early 30s. Looking back, I can see why many women delay until after they have had a family. Whichever way you look at it, the Church of England isn’t ‘family friendly’. It also isn’t an easy organisation to navigate as a female priest. This is by contrast to most other workplaces, where this particularly difficult combination of cultural and structural barriers don’t exist in the same way. However, it isn’t a straightforward solution to delay until later in life. By doing… Read more »
Many ordinands in that age group are from Conservative Evangelical churches. These sometimes adopt a complementarian approach to the different roles of men and women. Or as David Pawson put it in the title of his book.” Leadership is male.”
I’d be interested to know what the proportion M:F is among those who fully accept women’s ministry – that is, if we take away the no-women catholics and no-women evangelicals. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know. The Bishop of Maidstone’s most recent newsletter (https://bishopofmaidstone.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Newsletter-Sept-2020-final.pdf) has an interesting comment that bears on this, and on other subjects: “despite new churches passing resolutions, the total reported in this newsletter has stayed static. This is partly because some congregations have opted to join AMiE or the FCE out of concern about the future doctrinal direction of the Church over matters of sexuality and… Read more »
I was a ddo for 15 yrs Stanley and I keep an eye on those now ordained as best I can. Sadly last year I learned that 2 had departed to independent evangelical churches,one within 4 yrs of ordination( after 3 yrs residential training). I think more research could be done on those “jumping ship”in both directions.
In 2003 the University of Nottingham paid my removal expenses on condition that I remained in post for at least three years. Perhaps something similar for the cost of residential training? 10 years perhaps? If the CoE lasts that long.
And indeed more research on those who leave the stipendiary ministry to go into secular employment. I can think of 4, although one continued as NSM. I think one lost his faith altogether and one wanted some form of freelance ministry.
‘Swimming the Tiber’ is the wellknown turn of phrase for Anglicans (and others) who choose to become Roman Catholic. I wonder what would be the equivalent for those who opt to jump ship in the other direction? ‘Swimming the Rhone’ (Geneva’s river) doesn’t quite do it, even though many of those who depart in this direction would see themselves as Calvinist.
As Perry Butler says, it would be an interesting topic for further research as to what is going on here. Simon Bravery’s point rings true and would be good to investigate further. If the institution really did care about this sort of alarming imbalance it would have carried out, and published, the relevant research; the population of ordinands in question consists of only a few hundred people and is a captive audience, so would be easy to survey. Of course that would not include younger women who decide not to pursue ordination training, but it would be a start. If… Read more »
And some clergy move off elsewhere Bernard.In my cohort one is in Wales, 3 in the US and one in Australia. And one in Canada.
As did I for family reasons to the Church of Ireland for three years. But I came back, and there is traffic from there to here despite the fact that clergy terms and conditions are more generous in both NI and the Republic than they are in the C of E. The trouble with NI is twofold: the influence of Orangeism and the increasing CEEC-esque attitudes. In the rural Republic the baleful Masonic influence can be very problematic. It was in Co Laois anyway. Despite all this, it’s still proper pastoral ministry in the C of I, and where I… Read more »
There has been research on young vocations, its facilitators and barriers, for women especially. The study is five years old now, but highlights what’s been described here and more. There has been some work to address the issues. But there is still yet a way to go.
When the young vocations initiative got going, men outnumbered women 7:2. The bishops took fright at the gender imbalance and this has improved a bit – but not much. Yes, anecdotally we hear that this is due to big conevo congregations producing lots of vocations to ordination and I observe among my own students many women candidates who say ‘I would have considered ordination in my 20s but I was in a church that never suggested that to women.’ It is to the Church’s gain that they come along now with lots of life experience. That does not make their… Read more »
As I say above, I don’t think this is the whole picture. There is still the view that young women are a ‘risk’ as they may have children. This will incur costs for the church, e.g. maternity leave, so it’s a financial risk. Like the comments above on people exiting ministry for other reasons, it is assumed that women will not then give a good ‘return on the investment. They then aren’t worth the risk, unlike a nice young man. Far safer. Less risky. Part of the issue (I think) is this functional view of ordinands as ‘investments’ and ‘risks’… Read more »
Maybe young women don’t want to sign up to the 5 Guiding Principles? Why would they?
Having seen how they are working out in practice that may become an increasing problem. In fact, a dearth of female ordinands may be what it takes to get the principles revised.