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Church of England: We need to Rev up clergy numbers

by Aaron James

New figures show that a quarter of ministers are over 60.

The Church said unless the trend is reversed or slowed, it will affect its ability to keep providing ordained ministers in all the current roles.

The shortage has meant 29% of paid clergy take on the duties of another job and many serve multiple churches.

Speaking with Premier about how to encourage younger people to become paid clergy, Julian Hubbard, the Church of England's director of ministry, said: "What we want to do is to create opportunities for people of all ages and gather - particularly younger people - to get experience of what it is like to be a minister and to talk to people that are ministers and begin to think, "Is this for me? Is this what I am being called to do?"

"Lots of people only know a limited number of clergy and, therefore, find it hard to see themselves in the role. Once they begin to see people of their own backgrounds or their own age, then they begin to think whether this is something they can do."

In addition to the ageing clergy, the Church found the percentage of black and ethnic minority ministers had risen from 3% to 3.4% in four years.

Women make up 27% of those ordained, up from 24% in 2012, but women in senior positions make up only one in five.

Mr Hubbard added the Church of England is learning from new and emerging church movements which are growing.

He said: "I think we have a great deal to learn from that and we are already doing so. Indeed, part of the emphasis on growth that we are pursuing is to seek ministers who work well in that new church environment and new forms of mission."

You can hear Julian Hubbard from the Church of England speaking with Premier's Alex Williams by clicking here.

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