by Paul Badham
from Modern Believing Vol 48:4

Ministerial challenges

A key priority for the Church today should be to make proper use of its ministerial resources. Three of the articles in this edition document its failure to do so, particularly in relation to the ministry of women and the ministry of those working outside traditional structures. David Voas’ article highlights the fact that the Church of England is rapidly becoming dependent on its women priests. Almost half of the newly ordained in the past five years are women and because the age structure of serving clergy is skewed to men in their fifties or sixties who will retire in the next decade, women will provide close to half the clerical labour force in the relatively near future. The Church cannot do without its women priests, yet the evidence suggests that they get a very poor deal at present. Few women are given posts of real responsibility. More than half will minister to Sunday congregations of fewer than 50 and no woman has been given responsibility for a thriving congregation of 300 or more. Most women are not even paid for their labour since 54 per cent are now ordained into non-stipendiary posts whereas two-thirds of men go into a paid ministry.