Wednesday, 8 September 2004

Please read the small print

Last weekend’s Sunday Times has an article in which it claims that

Next year [ie 2005] the official projection of the Church of England’s planned ordinations is 124 women and 123 men.

The article does not give the source for these figures, but it possible to reconstruct how the authors arrived at them, and also discover that they are a serious underestimate.

First. Where do the figures come from?

Statistics of Licensed Ministers 2002 (GS Misc 721) (issued in November 2003, and so the latest available) includes figures for “Expected numbers of ordinations, 2003-2005” broken down by college and course. For 2005 the totals are

Figure 10: Stipendiary/NSM

Colleges: 46 men, 17 women
Courses: 36 men, 55 women

Figure 11: Permanent Non-stipendiary

Colleges: 0 men, 1 woman
Courses: 41 men, 51 women

Totals: 123 men, 124 women

Those are the figures given by the Sunday Times.

Second. Why are the figures a serious underestimate?

Because there is a very important footnote to Figure 10 in small print (which the authors of the article have obviously overlooked):

Figures for 2005 represent only those currently undertaking three year courses and will, therefore, be significantly lower than the number of ordinands in 2004.

So none of those who started a two-year period of training in 2003 are included. I don’t know how many such people there are, but I do know that they form a substantial proportion of ordinands.

For comparison, the expected number of ordinations in 2004 in the 2001 statistics was 239. By 2002 this had increased by 223 to 462. So it is likely that the number of ordinations in 2004 will be similar to the 450 to 500 seen in recent years.

Note: None of the above figures include OLMs (ordained local ministers). The published statistics do not include any information on the expected numbers of ordinations in this category.

Posted by Peter Owen on Wednesday, 8 September 2004 at 11:08 AM GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Church of England | Newspaper articles