Sharp increase in numbers training to be priests


15 June 2017

A 14% increase in numbers training for the priesthood has been
welcomed by the Church of England. An anticipated total of 543 men
and women will begin studies this Autumn at colleges across
England.

Welcoming the increase the Bishop of Guildford, Andrew Watson,
said:

“I am delighted at both the number and the range of those whom God
has been calling into ordained ministry over the course of the past
year. Here are men and women who are choosing to put their faith on
the line, so as to bring hope and spiritual nourishment to
individuals and communities alike. In an increasingly uncertain
world, nothing could be a greater privilege than walking alongside
people in their joys and sorrows, from birth to grave.”

An increase of 17% in women coming forward for ordination was
welcomed by Catherine Nancekievill, Head of Vocation for the Church
of England:

“The Church’s aim is to reflect our diversity in the priesthood
and whilst we have a long way to go in achieving this, I am
delighted that increasing numbers of women now feel that a life in
ordained ministry is for them. This is a big step in breaking down
the stereotypes, which is crucial in order to attract
underrepresented groups.”

The figures show that 25% of the cohort beginning training this
year are under 32. The increasing age profile of clergy has been a
significant motivator for the Church in focusing on growing
ordained vocations.  Catherine Nancekievill said:

“The Church takes seriously the signs that God is calling
Millennials to consider careers that offer the opportunity to work
for the common good. We now have an officer working to raise
awareness of what training for ministry can offer to young people.
Our popular scheme which offers on the job ministry experience is
to undergo substantial growth this year.”

Sir Philip Mawer, Chairman of Allchurches Trust which is providing
funding for the Church’s Ministry Experience Scheme commented:

“Young people are known to care deeply about finding a role in
which they can help make the world a better place and for an
increasing number that means going into ministry. We look forward
to working with the Church as they develop the Ministry Experience
Scheme to offer a path to lay or ordained ministry for a greater
number and ever wider range of people.”

This increase in people coming forward for ministry training comes
after the launch in 2015 of Renewal and Reform, a body of work
which aims to breathe new life into the Church through growing lay
and ordained vocations, increasing flexibility in funding and
reducing red tape to enable local churches better to serve their
communities.

Ends