Clergymen

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th February 1988.

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Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South 12:00 am, 29th February 1988

To ask the right hon. Member of Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners, what has been the number of clergymen in each of the past 10 years.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The total number of full-time stipendiary clergymen at the end of 1978 was 11,409; at the end of 1987 there were 10,624. In 1987 the first women deacons were ordained, increasing the total of full-time stipendiary clergy to 11,063. I shall arrange for full details to be published in the Official Report.

Photo of Mr John Marshall Mr John Marshall , Hendon South

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the vast bulk of the clergy work long and anti-social hours, often with little material reward? Does he agree also that one of the functions of the clergy—and, one hopes, of the bishops — further is to give a moral lead to their congregations? Does he further agree that, as one would not expect a bishop to sponsor adulterers for ordination, one can agree with those bishops who are refusing to sponsor practising homosexuals?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The Church Commissioners have no direct responsibility for ordination, selection or training. It is unlikely that an avowedly practising homosexual would be recommended for ordination or ordained by a bishop in the Church of England. It would scarcely be compatible with a clergyman's pastoral duties for the teaching of Christian personal ethics to recommend ordination.

Following is the information:

Full-time stipendiary clergymen
YearNumber at end of year
197811,409
197911,279
198011,053
198110,882
198210,789
198310,807
198410,749
198510,672
198610,649
198710,624