Church of England reports declining attendance, but increased ordinations

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Church attendance in England has continued to fall, according to the latest Church of England statistics, but donations to the Church are increasing and the numbers of new clergy have increased.

Church Statistics 2006/7 showed that the attendance of weekly congregations were down one per cent, but found that Christmas and Easter congregations had increased by seven and five per cent respectively.

A 15 per cent increase in new clergy meant the Church ordained 552 people in 2007, the highest number since the year 2000. Last year 290 men and 262 women were ordained, although 52 per cent of them were ordained to non-stipendiary ministry. Of those ordained to full-time, stipendiary ministry, 162 were men and 102 were women.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry

10 Comments
Posted October 26, 2008 at 3:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. William P. Sulik wrote:

Why not?  Here in the States, ECUSA has said that anyone can be a bishop (well, except for conservatives) and now, in politics, the leading candidate maintains “Every Man A King!”

October 26, 3:45 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd wrote:

At the rate they’re ordaining new clergy, there’ll be a ratio of 1:1; one vicar for each lay person!

October 26, 4:07 pm | [comment link]
3. Irenaeus wrote:

“Church of England reports declining attendance, but increased ordinations”

Uh-oh! One thinks of how ECUSA sprouted clergy even as it shed members.

October 26, 4:57 pm | [comment link]
4. jkc1945 wrote:

Church heirarchies tend to measure their “success” by the numbers of pastors / ecclesiastics they ordain during a year.  If actual membership is declining, it is minimized, or it is expressed as “localized increases” where that is possible - - i.e., “easter and Christmas” attendance increases.  This is true throughout Protestantism as well, where membership declines in most of the “mainline” denominations is running about 2% a year.  At that rate, there is about 36 years until the last one out of the building can turn off the lights.

October 26, 5:12 pm | [comment link]
5. KevinBabb wrote:

Pledges appear to have risen about 1.5%. So that we can understand the significance of this increase, does anybody know last year’s rate of increase or decrease in the U.K’s version of the CPI?

I believe that the relative value of a communicant, on the other hand, has remained constant for several years.

October 26, 5:19 pm | [comment link]
6. Irenaeus wrote:

ECUSA’s hyper-clergification over the past four decades has coincided with a decline in lay leadership. Or is it merely a coincidence?

October 26, 6:00 pm | [comment link]
7. Clueless wrote:

Puts a whole new meaning on “the priesthood of all believers”

October 26, 8:26 pm | [comment link]
8. Cennydd wrote:

ECUSA’s “hyper-clergification” is largely due to the “ordination” of women, as we all know.

October 26, 9:29 pm | [comment link]
9. azusa wrote:

It’s clear from the stats that the largest demographic of those being ordained are women in their 40s and 50s (quite a few after divorce), who will be unpaid part-timers managing the decline of dying congregations. As well, most of these new clergy will have done evening courses over three years run by liberal catholics, with very little biblical content (zero biblical languages), not much grasp of historical theology, and very little on preaching and evangelism (wossat?). As they swell clergy ranks, overall the clergy will become benignly more liberal (and less educated in the Bible) as the church shrinks.
The English publication ‘New Directions’ (available online) has documented how these part-time liberal courses have undermined orthodoxy in the Church of England.

October 27, 4:17 am | [comment link]
10. nwlayman wrote:

I think the joke was a few years ago that the Anglican priesthood was now “A hobby for grannies”.  How true.  Here, too.

October 30, 1:36 am | [comment link]
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