Sharp rise in vocations
15 June 2017 IN: National News
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.
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 stereo types, 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.
Manchester Vocations Conference
Manchester Diocese held a Women's Vocations Conference earlier in the year, where women from different backgrounds, and at varying stages of discernment, gathered to share ideas and experiences. The key note speaker, Revd Dr Miranda Threlfall Holmes, encouraged delegates to not be defined by the status quo, to resist assumptions, stand firm, take risks and be the change.
Sharing some of her own experiences of balancing vocation with family life, Miranda drew on the statistics to highlight how more women need to come forward at a younger age to ensure that the imbalance in church leadership is addressed in the future. Many delegates talked about how the stories shared had resonated with them, helping to affirm their own calling and encourage them in their discernment.