Our Growth Conversation: The vocational challenge

Continuing the conversation on how we can continue to follow the growth agenda and look to become a bigger church making a bigger difference we are breaking down the different areas of the consultation document. This week we look at the vocational challenge.

One of the challenges we are facing is listed as one of the four sharp realities we face in the Growth Conversation document:

2. We have less stipendiary clergy. We have to select and train more people if we are to avoid longer vacancies

We have seen decline in the number of stipendiary clergy. On current forecasts there will be 20% fewer stipendiary clergy across the Church of England by 2022. To express it another way, unless vocations increase then 1 in 5 of our current parishes will be in fairly permanent vacancy.

As a diocese we have begun to turn this around with record numbers going forward for selection this year. Our LifeCall and Directions programmes are part our diocese’s response to this challenge and the need to refresh vocations and patterns of ministry. One of our priority areas is encouraging vocations. We have record numbers on the Directions course as well as record numbers for clergy selection (over 15 this year).

Vocations are about more than recruiting Clergy. Our diocese takes a progressive stand in enabling the flourishing of gifts as we look to enable an ordered release of ministry. Our Bishops recently launched new guidance to encourage increased lay preaching and leading of services. Read more here.

Take part in the conversation

Are you clear about the vocational challenge? Is this the reality that you see in your congregation, your parish, your church? Give us your views.