Women are flocking to priesthood in increasing numbers – making up more than half of the candidates for the Church of England
- Women make up 54 per cent of this year’s candidates for preisthood in the CoE
- In total, 316 have been recommended for training, up 11 per cent on last year
- Catherine Nancekievill, the Church’s head of discipleship and vocation, said the rise was down to ‘changing attitudes’
Women are increasingly entering the priesthood as a second career, figures show.
Catherine Nancekievill, the church’s head of discipleship and vocation, said that ‘changing attitudes’ are a factor.
Women were first allowed to be priests in 1994 – but more are now thinking about taking up the vocation.
Women are increasingly entering the priesthood as a second career, figures show
She said: ‘They may well have got into careers and families, and that calling might have been there but they might not have actually taken these steps forward, because once you get into your 30s and 40s you just get very busy with lots of things that are happening.’
The Church of England figures also show that more young people are planning to train as priests.
The number of people aged under 32 recommended to train for ordination this year has risen by nearly a third (32 percent), compared to two years ago.
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Overall, 169 people in this age group have been recommended after undergoing a selection process, up from 128 in 2016.
According to Church forecasts, this means that around nearly three in 10 (29 percent) of those entering training for the priesthood this year are expected to be aged under 32.
The Church’s latest report on vocations also shows that the overall number of people – of any age – recommended to train for ordination, is up seven percent in the last 12 months, to 580 from 541 in 2017.
Women make up the majority of this year’s candidates (54 percent) – the highest ever proportion.
In total, 316 have been recommended for training, up 11 percent on last year.
According to Church forecasts, this means that around nearly three in 10 (29 percent) of those entering training for the priesthood this year are expected to be aged under 32 (stock image)
Julian Hubbard, director of the Church of England’s ministry division, said: ‘I am delighted that the Church of England has seen a rise in the number of vocations to the priesthood for the second year running.
‘We are particularly pleased to see the increase in the number of young women and men entering training.
‘We give heartfelt thanks for the prayers and the hard work of all in the churches and dioceses who have been involved in guiding these candidates along their journey and pray that God will continue to bless and guide them to build a growing Church for all people in all places.’
Jo Burden, 25, who was first asked if she had considered training while she was studying at the University of York, has completed her first year of training for the priesthood at Cranmer Hall in Durham.
‘I was still at university at the time, studying for a chemistry degree and I was volunteering at my local church as a server,’ she said.
‘A couple of the priests said independently, in the same week, ‘have you thought maybe that you may have some sort of a calling?’. I took part in the Hereford diocese ministry experience scheme after university and I was able to experience the day-to-day life and work of a parish, from working with young children, taking Sunday school and even leading a funeral.’
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