The release of Church of England ministry statistics this week confirms once again the “ageing crisis” of Anglican clergy. Signs of change are evident, but it remains the case that there are almost twice as many clergy aged over 60 as under 40.
You would be forgiven for questioning the veracity of that data after walking into the church where I serve, however. St Luke’s Kentish Town has a clergy stock blessed with a vicar in his mid-30s, a curate just shy of 30, and me, as ordinand, aged 26. At the last count, the average age of the 200-strong congregation was 27. This is perfectly in keeping with our young north London location, but pitches us ”“ clergy and congregation ”“ as significantly more youthful than the Church of England as a whole.
Vicars needed: the Church of England’s fight to fill its vacancies in the north
While the church realises that there are unusual enclaves such as ours, misconceptions are common about what really goes on in them. To be clear, this is not just the young leading the young. We (and many like us; we might be uncommon but are in no sense unique) are normal parishes, seeking to present and represent Jesus Christ faithfully to those around us, irrespective of age.