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Do we need more vicars?

The Church of England has just released two related reports on numbers in ordained ministry. These are not related to annual ministry figures; the last figures (from 2015) were released in June, and caught the headlines for a number of reasons. These reports are related more to the aims of the Renewal and Reform process, […]

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Apr. 30, 2011; The Most Reverend Daniel R. Jenky, C.S.C., Bishop of Peoria in Illinois, conferred the Sacrament of Holy Orders on Rev. John Britto Antony, C.S.C. and Rev. Paul M. Ybarra, C.S.C..
Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame

Ordination does not make you a priest

This is the time of year when ordinations happen, traditionally on the weekend nearest to the festival remembering Peter (‘Petertide’ which fell yesterday) which is either the last weekend of June or the first weekend of July. (It would be much better if this happened in September, but that is the subject for another post.) […]

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Do we have enough vicars?

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, […]

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Is the future of leadership lay or ordained?

It is arguable that the greatest challenge currently facing the C of E is not to do with sexuality, not related to changes in culture and moral values, and unconnected with Church-State relations. It actually arises from a decision made around the time I started ordination training in 1989, that candidates needed ‘more experience of […]

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Coherence and variety in ordained ministry

One of the many fascinating debates at Synod this week was on the proposals for Resourcing Ministerial Education (RME) on which I have written a couple of times before. I had put down one of four amendments to the motion from Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, and I was asking for work to be done to check that RME was not undermining ‘our shared, catholic understanding of ordination as expressed in the Ordinal’ prior to implementation in September 2017.

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What is the future of ministerial training?

One of the important issues coming up in this session of Synod is the reconfiguration of ministerial training as part of the Renewal and Reform programme, under the title ‘Resourcing Ministerial Education.’ I commented on it last year, and had an exchange with Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield, who is leading on this. In view […]

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Resourcing Ministerial Education: a tasty curate’s egg

The Church of England does not have a good track record of thinking strategically about theological and ministerial education. In 1977 the imaginatively named ACCM Paper 22 swept away the General Ordination Exam, and instead asked each training institution to articulate its understanding of ministry and its approach to training. In the post-1960s liberal haze, […]

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