Thinking Anglicans

Ministry Statistics 2019

The Church of England released its Ministry Statistics for 2019 today.

The accompanying press release (copied below) highlights that, for the first time, women made up the majority of deacons ordained, but there is much else in the report.

Statistics for earlier years are available here.

Women majority of deacons ordained last year, new report shows
17/06/2020

Women made up the majority of deacons ordained in the Church of England last year for the first time, according to new statistics published today.

A total of 570 deacons were ordained in 2019, with women making up just over a half, or 51% of the new intake.

Deacons are the first of three orders of ordained ministry. Whilst all clergy continue as deacons throughout, the majority are also ordained as priests at the end of their first year of ministry.

The statistics show that women made up around 32% of the 20,000 active clergy last year, with a growing proportion of senior posts such as Bishops, Archdeacons and Cathedral Deans, occupied by women, from 25% in 2018 to 27% last year.

Women were in the majority starting training for ordained ministry for the third year running, with equal numbers of men and women sponsored to train for ‘incumbent’ posts – such as Rector or Vicar – over the last two years. However currently only 25% of incumbent posts are occupied by women.

The number of stipendiary, or paid clergy, remained stable, at 7,700, between 2018 and 2019, following a period of decline. There were 7,830 Readers or licensed lay ministers compared to just under 10,000 in 2010. Readers and licensed lay ministers are not ordained but can lead worship and preach in churches, among other roles.

The statistics show the number of stipendiary clergy from black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds stood at 3.8%, while 7.8% of people entering training for ordained ministry last year were from a BAME background.

Out of a total of 550 people beginning training for ordained ministry last year, nearly a quarter, or 24%, were under 32 years old and more than two fifths, 44%, were aged under 40.

The Rt Revd Chris Goldsmith, Director of Ministry for the Church of England, said: “In recent years there has been an increasing diversity among our clergy, but we will not be content until those in public ministry truly reflect the whole church and the communities which they serve.”

He added: “The contribution of lay ministers to the mission and ministry of the church is hugely valued both in terms of sustaining the ongoing life of parishes and chaplaincies but also in the innovation and spiritual entrepreneurship increasingly characterising frontline expressions of the church as a Christian presence in every community.”

The Bishop of Derby, Libby Lane, who was consecrated as the first female bishop in the Church of England in 2015, said: “Women are now a widely visible presence among clergy in the Church of England – praise God. However there are still other under-represented groups whose vocations to ordination are being missed.

“I pray that the lessons learnt in encouraging women can make a difference for those who are not yet recognised, so Church of England clergy, at every level, better reflect the glorious diversity of our country.”

She added: “Last year marked 25 years since I was ordained priest. For over a quarter of a century women and men together have been selected, trained, ordained and appointed to serve in the Church of England.

“I thank God for the privilege of my ministry, and for the thousands of women and men who have shared this calling in that time.”

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Shamus
Shamus
18 days ago

Can we just drop ghastly phrases like “spiritual entrepreneurship” from our church discourse? This is my fervent prayer.

Stanley Monkhouse
18 days ago

In view of the points raised in a recent thread by Perry Butler, Malcolm Dixon and me, it would be useful to know how many clergy look to one of the “flying” bishops, catholic or Conservative Evangelical. I say this not for reasons of partisanship or point-scoring but simply to see more clearly where we are and where we might be headed. This is, I think, more significant in the Conservative Evangelical constituency where already a minister of the Church of England has been consecrated bishop of AMIE (Jesmond PC, Newcastle upon Tyne). The Church of England suffered a partial… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
18 days ago

@Stanley Monkhouse, this data is on p.32.There are 590 such parishes.

Stanley Monkhouse
18 days ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

Thanks very much. The figure given for Maidstone, 80, does not tally with the information in his December 2019 Newsletter: 144. That’s quite a difference. But what matters is the trend. We shall see.
 

Last edited 18 days ago by Stanley Monkhouse
T Pott
T Pott
17 days ago

Maidstone’s newsletter claims 144 PCCs haave passed the resolution, but only 83 are supervised by him, the remainder being supervised by a bishop of the diocese. 3 may be in Kent, or there may have been changes, but the bulk of the difference is PCCs who passed the resolution but are not supervised by Maidstone. I don’t know why not.

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
16 days ago
Reply to  T Pott

One obvious reason might be that although the remainder have passed resolutions they do not feel they need alternative oversight because they are currently overseen by male bishops.

RosalindR
RosalindR
17 days ago

I suspect the difference may be covered by the final column (other bishops and assistant bishops) where the Bishop of Maidstone has been appointed as assistant bishop in a diocese and so has a de facto oversight of a church but without a resolution being passed.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
18 days ago

Many people predicted the ministry would become like the nursing profession populated mainly by females after women’s ordination. This may be coming to pass with these latest statistics. Similarly there’s a preponderance of women teachers in Primary Schools. It may be that the population prefers a Church run by women after the ministry is eventually perceived as a feminine vocation. This could increase the reluctance of men to enrol – as is the case in nursing.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
17 days ago
Reply to  FrDavid H

Fr D…I am not quite sure I agree with the implication that men are as reluctant as they used to be to enter nursing. Wikipedia is not always correct but its article “Men in Nursing” starts: “Although staffed disproportionately by women, since the 1960s, nursing has gradually become more gender-inclusive. “
 
What is certainly the case is that medicine and dentistry, certainly dominated by men in years gone by, are now popular professions for women: the latest statistics show that 60% of UK students of medicine and dentistry are female.

Malcolm Dixon
Malcolm Dixon
17 days ago

Your analysis is very interesting, Stanley. I was particularly struck by the disparity between the single PEV provided for the headship parishes (growing in number) and the much larger number of PEVs and suffragans ministering to the traditionalist catholic parishes (declining in number). I recall that the pressure for a headship PEV arose after Wallace Benn had retired as +Lewes, because he was said to be the last serving bishop holding such views. That disparity needs addressing and, although I am not a supporter of either position, I would rather see it done by a decline in the number of… Read more »

Paul Waddington
Paul Waddington
18 days ago

Table 19 is interesting. It indicates that 70 formerly stipendiary ministers have disappeared from the records for reasons which exclude death, retirement or transfer to another category of minister. Presumably these submit their resignation without giving a reason. If that is the case, surely there should be a category entitled Resignation. Similarly 20 join stipendiary ministry without being ordained or transferring from another form of ministry. Can anyone speculate where these come from? It is all a bit of a mystery.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
18 days ago

And to add to the mystery, how many leave stipendiary parish ministry for sector or cathedral ministry? Some years ago the deanery I was in lost a number of fine parish priests in this way, prompting our diocesan to review multi-parish benefices. Nothing concrete resulted, but there was acknowledgement that such benefices were as tough in their own way as inner-city ministry.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
17 days ago

I imagine some resign and leave C of E ministry or go abroad. I was a DDO from 1996 to 2008. 2 of “mine” are now in the US.1 in Canada and1 in Australia. 2 perhaps 3 have left to Evangelical Churches and 1 to the RC Church.

Charles Read
17 days ago

If you are a Roman Catholic priest, you do not need to be ordained to enter Anglican ordained ministry. Likewise for Lutherans….

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
17 days ago

Perhaps these are priests taking a break to bring up a family, work for parachurch organisations or return to secular employment for a few years?

Paul Waddington
Paul Waddington
17 days ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

This is a possible explanation for those entering ministry. Thanks for making the suggestion. However, the fact that no explanation is offered for the figures (especially those departing ministry) make me suspicious that there is somethin g being covered up.

Chris Bunce
18 days ago

I fear there are more Termination Agreements than we may think.

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
17 days ago
Reply to  Chris Bunce

As a former union rep I know that the Clergy Discipline Measure 2003 was used to encourage clergy whose faces didn’t fit to reconsider their future in stipendiary ministry. Bishops would allow a trivial or vexatious complaint to trundle on because they knew that a good proportion of clergy would ‘fold’ once the matter was concluded even if it went their way. Some were bold enough to suggest a non-stipendiary role to those still grieving the loss of their incumbency; presumably on the basis if you don’t ask you don’t get!

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
18 days ago

Shall we do the elephant in the room?
 
There are currently 7,700 stipendiary clergy. The table on p.25 shows various projections of how this will change between now and 2039. The lowest projection is about 6,000, the highest is just over 8,000.
 
Given church attendances and finances are collapsing, why do we need so many stipendiary clergy? There is little prospect of there being viable churches for most of these clergy to work in. Or are we expecting revival to break out?

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
17 days ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

Sam, I think that there are those who hope against all the evidence that there is a revival on the way. All those stipendiary curates currently on furlough leave might be especially uneasy about what the future holds.

Bernard Silverman
Bernard Silverman
18 days ago

As I wrote last year, it’s important to note age/gender effects. Table 11b and Figure 10 both demonstrate that men predominate among younger ordinands while women among older. This raises various issues. Firstly, even if women now outnumber men among ordinands, they will remain, even in the long run, in the minority of clergy under retirement age, because they will have fewer years to serve once they are ordained. Secondly, there are clearly still real or perceived barriers to younger women even entering training, not a healthy situation. As I’ve said before, this is not the case in other walks… Read more »

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
17 days ago

‪Good spot. Would be interested to hear others’ ideas for why men currently predominate among the younger ordinands. What factors could be operating in the pipeline? ‬

Lizzie Taylor
Lizzie Taylor
16 days ago

One reason could be this: women in larger churches are not currently being enabled by an appropriate system of referral. In 2018 a survey of male headship churches showed that:   85% had not commended any women for ordination, even for the permanent diaconate.   88% had not enabled a female candidate to explore ordination with an egalitarian clergyperson from another parish.   See https://www.bishopofmaidstone.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Newsletter-Advent-2018-final-version.pdf (accessed 19 June 2020).   This is of great concern in relation to Guiding Principle 1 of the 2014 settlement which states that all orders of ministry must be open without reference to gender. To… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
16 days ago
Reply to  Lizzie Taylor

Most women who attend ‘male headship churches’ presumably do so because they agree with the male headship line and are not interested in going for ordination.
 
I think the wider issue may be a lack of female role models. Plenty of male church leaders trained for ordination in their 20’s but few women to date have done so.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
16 days ago
Reply to  Lizzie Taylor

Thank you for posting this Lizzie.+Maidstone’s questionaire is very informative and if Stanley is right that this constituency is likely to grow it helps us see the possible shape of things to come.

Andrew
Andrew
17 days ago

If stipendiary clergy account for only 43% of active clergy, it represents a huge cost saving for parishes. Are there any estimates of the contribution, expressed in monetary terms, of clergy in ministry on a voluntary basis, whether retired or self-supporting? On a Bell curve, there are highly active PTO/SSMs at one extreme, and highly leisured full-time stipendiary incumbents at the other. It would make an interesting study.   Perhaps the most striking of the colourful graphs in the report is an Alpine three peaks scene depicting the age profile of licensed ministers (Figure 2, p. 10).   The two highest peaks… Read more »

Fr. Dean Henley
Fr. Dean Henley
17 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

One comes with employment rights Andrew, the other most definitely not!

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