New statistics for 2012 show that the number of young people (under 30s) accepted for training for the Church of England ministry last year was 113, 22% of the total. This is the highest number in the past twenty years.
The Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council is continuing to be proactive in recruiting both young ordinands and those from BME backgrounds and this month sponsored two separate conferences for those thinking about ordination.
Sixteen young people, aged 15-19, attended a young vocations conference in Cambridge and feature in a Church of England podcast. (www.churchofengland.org/media-centre/engage-with-us-online/podcasts.aspx
“The opportunities for young people to serve are there” says Amie, one of the delegates. “I’ve been very encouraged by this conference and that’s a real positive, because a few years ago it might not have been the same. Diocesan Directors of Ordinands are not saying ‘go away up you’re 18 or 19, they are saying come and explore with me.’”
Southwark diocese hosted the conference for those considering ordinations from a BME background with nearly 30 participants on the weekend, with further names on the waiting list.
Dr Elizabeth Henry the CofE's national Minority Ethnic Anglican Concerns Adviser said: “In many locations, BME Anglicans keep the Church going but don’t always feel welcome to share in the leadership of the Church at local and national level. This was an occasion when the Church recognised them and their ministry within the Church. It will be great to build on this success at a national Vocations Conference planned for 2014.”
Dr Stephen Ferns, the CofE’s Senior Selection Secretary commented: “I’m delighted by the success of both these initiatives. The Church needs to encourage more young vocations and more vocations from people from minority ethnic backgrounds so that our ordained ministry can better reflect and reach out to the communities which we serve”