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Wanted, More Priests

The Coventry Diocese is endeavouring to take early action to prevent a shortage of clergy over the next twenty years.

Coventry Diocesan Synod's quarterly meeting in Kineton, Warwickshire tomorrow will be asked to support proposals to employ more full time youth workers and other specialist lay workers to maintain staffing levels.

The Rev Lawrence Mortimer, spokesman for the Diocese, said:

"There is no crisis, but we have seen early signs of a shortage developing all over the country over the next twenty years or so.

"To some extent it is caused by the fact that so many members of the clergy were ordained after careers outside the church. If you look at the biographical details of a lot of the clergy in this diocese you will see people who have been barristers, oil executives and a variety of other occupations.

"Of course this secular experience is very valuable to the Church, but at the other end of the scale there has not been that degree of priority in terms of recruitment among young people.

"It means that we are reaching a stage where there will be a lot of retirements and not many people coming through the colleges. For the last generation or two young people have not been church goers and I suppose the recruitment figures have reflected society as a whole.

"There is no crisis but our research shows there will be an imbalance over the next generation or so.

"The Diocese has already agreed to set aside 25,000 each year towards the recruitment of part time youth leaders and that sum is likely to be increased."

An increasing number of church services are being conducted by lay people, but they are unable to administer communion.

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CWN / Religion / News / 06 Nov 98

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