C of E clergy numbers could soon be in sharp decline

Paid clergy could become an endangered species in the Church of England, the Times of London reports.

According to figures on the Church of England website, there will be an 8.3 per cent decrease in paid clergy in the next four years, from 8,400 this year to 7,700 in to 2013. This represents a 22.5 per cent decrease since 2000. If this trend continues in just over 50 years there will be no full-time paid clergy left in Britain’s 13,000 parishes serving 16,000 churches.

Jobs will instead be filled by unpaid part-timers, giving rise to fears about the quality of parish ministry. Combined with a big reduction in churchgoing, the figures will add weight to the campaign for disestablishment.


A Church of England spokesman said: “It’s nice to have ‘our’ vicar and ‘our church’. However, most people recognise that this is not the situation.” The cut in clergy was not related to money but to vocations. “The bigger pressure is the really quite encouraging number of ordinations is not as big as the number of those retiring.”

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