Disclaimer In this beta version data has been captured from the initial report of proceedings (Hansard) which can be subsequently corrected, therefore it cannot be guaranteed to be 100% accurate. At this time deferred divisions are not included in the data sets. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. By continuing to use the site you agree to our use of cookies.
Thank you for you feedback!

Number of Vocations

  1. Sir Desmond Swayne (New Forest West) (Con)

    5.

    What assessment the Church of England has made of recent trends in the number of vocations.[909698]

  2. Dame Caroline Spelman

    The number of people selected for training for ordained ministry within the Church of England has been stable for some time. However, the age profile of serving clergy means that larger numbers are retiring, leading to an overall decrease in the number of active clergy. The Church seeks to address that by increasing by 50% the numbers training for ordained ministry: an increase from about 500 to 750 by 2020.

  3. Sir Desmond Swayne

    That is an A* answer, but how can we do even better?

  4. Dame Caroline Spelman

    Quite simply, we need to make it easier for people who feel the call to enter ministry to do so more flexibly. The Church offers not only a three-year residential course to become an ordained minister, but part-time peripatetic provision. As a result of the apprenticeship levy, resources will be available to the Church for people to learn on the job. That should make it a whole lot easier for people to enter ministry.

  5. Mrs Anne-Marie Trevelyan (Berwick-upon-Tweed) (Con)

    Does my right hon. Friend believe that the number of vocations would be improved if the Church of England did more to protect its churches in Northumberland from metal theft, which leaves young ordinands with a lot of logistics to deal with when they should be focusing on their parishioners?

  6. Dame Caroline Spelman

    I must congratulate my hon. Friend on her ingenuity in raising the very important and serious matter of metal theft—an ordained minister cannot practise without a roof on their church. This is a serious problem. The Church of England offers guidance, and I refer hon. Members to the ChurchCare website. There is a range of metal substitute products that can be used even on listed buildings. Currently, there is a pilot system for marking lead, which is designed to help scrap metal dealers so that they can identify when stolen goods are being presented to them. This is a serious matter, and we are working closely with Government Departments to try to make it harder for the criminals to impede the desire of those who wish to minister in the Church and to make sure that the roof stays on.

  7. Marcus Fysh (Yeovil) (Con)

    I welcome that news, and the initiatives on raising the number of clergy vocations. Stealing metal from church roofs is indeed an unfortunate vocation. What are we doing in the Yeovil area specifically to stop such theft?

  8. Dame Caroline Spelman

    I do not have information on Yeovil specifically, but advice is available on the Church’s website for every diocese—unfortunately, every diocese is affected by this serious crime. In addition to the deterrents I outlined in my previous answer, there is a system for fixing or locking lead—perhaps I should not give it away in the House, because then the criminals will know about it. It is pertinent to my constituency, where that system was used after the second theft of lead from a church roof. The deterrence means that even in the dead of night it is possible to catch evidence of the crime taking place. I recommend the Church’s website.