More women training for the priesthood in the Church of England

(Photo: Unsplash/Daniel Roe)

The Church of England has seen a rise in the number of women training for the priesthood, according to new ministry statistics published on Monday.

For the second year running, there are more women than men entering into training for ordained ministry, with the figures for 2018 showing that women account for 54% of the new ordinands. 

Overall, nearly a third (30%) of the 20,000 active clergy in the Church of England are women, up from 27% in 2014. 

There was also a 2% rise between 2017 and 2018 in the proportion of women holding senior positions such as dean or bishop, with a quarter of these postholders now being female. 

Clergy diversity is also on the up, with the number of black, Asian and minority ethnic trainee ordinands doubling from 4% to 8% between 2016 and 2018. 

Other figures from the Ministry Statistics for 2018 report show that around a third of the people who started their training last year were below the age of 35 while over half (53%) were under 45. 

There has also been an increase in the men and women being ordained as deacons, up from 485 in 2016 to 535 in 2019. 

The latest figures reflect a major growth programme called Renewal and Reform running across the Church of England with the aim of doubling the number of candidates for ordination. 

Mandy Ford, Interim Director of the Ministry Division of the Church of England, said: "I am thankful for the hard work and prayers of the parishes and dioceses in helping us to increase the numbers of people coming forward for ordained ministry, a key aim of the Renewal and Reform programme."