England: Young priests represent a quarter of new clergy
From the Church of England
Latest statistics released by the Church of England show that the number of young people (under 30s) now make up a quarter of all people accepted for training for the Church of England ministry. Figures show for 2014 show that 116 young people under 30 were accepted for training.
This is the highest number of young people accepted for ordination training in the past 25 years.
One young ordinand Kim, who six years ago was a soldier serving in Iraq, describes her journey to ordination in a Church of England blog: “I’d hit rock bottom and feeling I had nowhere else to turn decided to shout out to God whilst on a helicopter in the way to the Iranian border,”
Last weekend more than 50 prospective young ordinands gathered at an event – Step Forward – held by the Archbishop of York at his home in Bishopthorpe. The group of young people from across England heard from current trainees and staff members from Cranmer Hall, Durham, and audio reflections from some of those young people are available on the Church of England’s latest podcast.
Liz Boughton, Young Vocations Advisor, Ministry Division of the Archbishops’ Council said: “We are so pleased to see more young people being recommended for ordination than in the last ten years. The gifts and insights that young people bring to ministry are more important than ever in the life of the Church of England and I look forward to seeing the impact that a generation of young priests will bring.”
The Bishop of Sheffield, Steven Croft, chair of the Ministry Council, said: “It is really encouraging that young people are continuing to come forward, playing their part in the Church of the future. More and more young people are hearing God’s call to bring their energy and gifts to serve in the mission of the church. As a Church we need this movement to deepen and grow still further”
Despite stories of declining congregations in the Church of England, priestly vocations among the 30-year age group now make up a quarter of all people offering for ministry in the Church of England. This figure compares very favourably with new vocations for moist other Churches in the U.K. The problem may be; where to put them after ordination?
It would have been interesting to look in on some of the young people themselves, who presumably are featured in the promised link in the above article. however, when I checked, the web-site for the link ‘latest podcast’ was under pressure and could not activate the link. Maybe that’s a good sign? Perhaps there are so many young people interested in finding out about what is involved in becoming a clergyperson in the C. of E. that the site in overwhelmed.
However, the previous link, ‘Church of England blog’, did reveal a most interesting account by ‘Kim’, who recounts her call to ministry from a seemingly unpromising beginning in the armed forces.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand