Thursday, 3 July 2008

Church of England campaign to target young priests at General Synod

The Church of England is to launch a national campaign at this weekend's General Synod to encourage more young people to consider training to become priests.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will unveil the scheme which will target college-leavers with posters depicting young priests ministering in fashionable or exciting locations.

The initiative is being launched in response to falling numbers of young people coming forward for ordination, while total numbers of Church of England ordinations have been rising over the past decade.

The posters are linked by the slogan "There's more to ordained ministry than you think", with one featuring an Army chaplain in battle fatigues under the title "Touring The Parish - via Afghanistan". Another is strapped "Evening Service" and shows Lorraine Dixon, a nightclub chaplain and DJ.

In 1996, some 20 per cent of the 453 ordained in the Church of England were aged under 30 but by 2006 just 15 per cent of the 594 ordinations were of the same age group. Of the 595 people recommended for training in 2007, just 88 (14.8 per cent) were under 30. The trend for middle-aged ordinations has been steadily rising. Read more
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Peter Kirk said...


"falling numbers of young people coming forward for ordination"

The fall is not statistically significant, from 91 in 1996 to 89 in 2006 and 88 in 2007 on your figures. This is despite all the hoops DDOs put younger candidates through before even recommending them for selection. So I suspect that it is not the candidates but the dioceses that the Synod needs to work on here.

Revd John P Richardson said...

Not 'my' figures, Peter! However, I did note a while ago that according to the Church of England's own figures, there were about as many clergy under thirty working in the Church of England in total now as we had as students training to be clergy at St John's Nottingham in the 1970s. That is a worry!

Yellow said...

YAY....I love being in a minority. I was ordained in 2001 went from Uni to a gap year and then straight to Theological College.

Whenever I go to a clergy do I always seem to be the youngest in the room by about 15 years. Which is nice because where I work I'm getting on for 15 years older than the students.

It's not all bad news though the Diocesan Director of Ordinands came down to my chaplaincy the other week to meet 8 students who wanted to offer themselves for ordination.

8 students from one chaplaincy and not a single evangelical or anglo-catholic among them. The liberal wing of the Church isn't dead yet (I speak of one who is very firmly evangelical)

The Revd Y. Stevens, Southampton University (no I don't live just feels like it sometimes)