Do we have enough vicars?

On 2nd June, Ian Paul published “Do we have enough vicars?” on his Psephizo blog, which has additional comments by Peter Ould. Ian has kindly permitted the following cross-posting.

Today the Ministry Statistics for 2015 are released (soon to be posted on the C of E stats web page) and they tell us the stark reality of decline in clergy numbers. On Radio 4 this morning, Rose Hudson-Wilkins suggested that this wasn’t too worrying, since we can dispense with the model of the ‘white, male, clericalised’ pattern of ministry. What she failed to highlight is that there are no sustainable models of church growth which don’t involve stipendiary (set aside, financially provided for) leadership, and the NT itself sees leadership as a gift to the Church which enables the ‘building up’ of the people of God. As a reflection of that, the Archbishops’ Council risk register sees a failure to ‘recruit’ sufficient ordinands as a major risk to the future of the Church. Continue reading