Female clergy say being mothers has made them better ministers

Rt Rev Libby Lane began her episcopal ministry this week.Reuters

Three-quarters of mothers in full-time ministry say having children has made them a better minister, according to a new survey from Christian Research.

However, the survey also showed that they struggle to find the time that they would like for their own children, husbands, friends and hobbies.

Released in advance of Mothering Sunday, the survey found that around half (48 per cent) said they struggled to find enough time to spend with their children. 58 per cent said they did not have enough time to relax, 57 per cent said they struggled to find time to see their closest friends and 60 per cent did not have time for a hobby.

The mums in ministry put together a list of Ten Commandments for other female church leaders. It includes: get a cleaner, don't feel guilty about putting your children first, and be ruthless about spending time with your family.

Gerry Stacey of Christian Research said: "As we celebrate Mothering Sunday we need to remember the hidden mums in our churches. They give a huge amount of time to help Britain's churches flourish. But congregations need to recognise that they are mums too and need to spend time with their families."

Christian Research

The survey of 176 mothers in full-time ministry across the UK took place between March 5-9. It comes in the same week as England's first woman bishop, Rt Rev Libby Lane, 48, was installed at Chester Cathedral, officially starting her episcopal ministry.

Between 2002 and 2012 the number of full-time female clergy in the Church of England alone rose some 41 per cent, from 1,261 to 1,781, while the number of male clergy declined.