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.”
The Ministry Statistics paper and Commentary are available here: https://www.churchofengland.org/about-us/facts-stats/research-statistics/ministry-statistics.aspx