Question for Church Commissioners, UIN 31286, tabled on 12 July 2021
Michael Fabricant, (Conservative, Lichfield): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, with reference to the article by the Revd Marcus Walker, Rector of the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great, London, entitled, Is this the last chance to save the Church of England, published in the Spectator on 10 July 2021, what assessment the Church has made of the implications for its policies of the (a) findings of Revd Walker and (b) potential merits of proposals to create 10,000 new lay-led churches in the next 10 years in private homes and public halls.
Answered on 15 July 2021
Andrew Selous (Conservative, South West Bedfordshire): The Reverend Dave Male, Director of Evangelism and Discipleship for the Church of England, addressed the inaccuracies in The Spectator and subsequent articles, in a statement issued on 8th July:
“I am very aware that some recent commentary in media and social media purporting to set out the future direction of Church of England has caused real anxiety, hurt and pain to many. Some of this has been based on a fundamental confusion between the Church of England’s own emerging Vision and Strategy for the 2020s and beyond, which we will be discussing at the upcoming meeting of General Synod, and a separate initiative called Myriad to create 10,000 new lay-led churches – which is not a national Church of England project. It has been claimed in some places that there is a plan to dissolve the parish system, sideline or even replace trained clergy, especially paid clergy, or to get rid of our beautiful, historic church buildings. So I want to make it abundantly clear that the Church of England is committed, now as always, to the ministry of the whole people of God including to ordained ministry in our parishes.”
The full statement can be read here: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/news-releases/clergy-and-parishes-heart-church-england-now-and-future
In his presidential address and in the subsequent debate on Vision and Strategy at the July General Synod, the Archbishop of York said that the Church needed more, not fewer vocations to ordination and that the limiting factor was the lack of vocations, not the valuable work of serving clergy across the country, of all forms of ministry.
The Archbishop of York’s presidential address can be read at: https://www.archbishopofyork.org/news/latest-news/presidential-address-general-synod-july-2021 and his presentation on the Vision and Strategy is here: https://www.archbishopofyork.org/news/latest-news/vision-and-strategy-address-general-synod-july-2021
More information about Vision and Strategy itself can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/about/leadership-and-governance/emerging-church-england/vision-church-england-2020s
Parishes remain at the heart of the Church of England’s mission and ministry to the nation and the Church is delighted that growing numbers of people are answering the call to the priesthood. This year 591 clergy have committed themselves to ordained ministry within the Church, the largest number in over thirteen years. More information about vocations can be found here: https://www.churchofengland.org/media-and-news/news-releases/recommendations-stipendiary-ordained-ministry-training-highest