According to a report published this week the number of men and women entering training for ordained ministry continues to rise. The figures have been released as the Church of England seeks to fulfil a key target of a 50% increase in the number of candidates for ordination as part of its programme of Renewal and Reform.
Chichester Diocese continues to see a significant rise in those being recommended to train for ordination and efforts to increase the number of women training continues to bear fruit, with 38% of those starting training being female. A push for younger female vocations continues to bear fruit, with there now being 5 women under 35 in training for full-time ordained ministry.
Twenty-one men and women from across Sussex will start theological training this year in theological institutions across England: a 10% increase on 2018’s figures and a 200% increase on 2016 figures. There are now 51 people from across Sussex preparing to enter ordained Christian ministry, just over double the number that were in training in 2016. Chichester also continues to exceed the national average of younger people entering ordained ministry, with 51% of those commencing training this year being under 35 (compared to 33% nationally) and 87% under 45 (compared to 53% nationally).
The Diocesan Director of Ordinands, the Rev Dr Dan Inman commented, “The continued rise in ordinands in Chichester is particularly heartening in this Year of Vocation, when we have been encouraging everyone across the Church of England in Sussex to ponder how God might be calling them to serve in new ways. While there is still work to be done, the people we’ve seen start training in the past three years suggest that we are making good headway in making sure our parishes will be served well in years to come by clergy who are younger and more reflective of society’s wider diversity.”
“If anyone reading this senses that they too might feel a stirring to step forward in this way, I’d encourage them to step forward and speak with their vicar or chaplain, trusting in God’s faithfulness and remembering Jesus’ own words, ‘the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few’ (Matthew 9.37).”