On Tuesday morning, whilst the rest of us were blogging about women bishops, General Synod passed a £1m budget increase to cover the increased cost of training clergy. Why? Because numbers in training for have gone up. These are the figures for clergy in colleges or on training courses (note: I originally posted this as training figures for stipendiary clergy, that was wrong, sorry for misleading anyone):
numbers in training
2008-9 (est) 1425
2009-10 (est) 1445
this includes a big increase (40%) in people on college courses, which is good news as it makes the various training colleges much more viable. There were the equivalent of 50 more full-time ordinands in training this year than expected in the budget, and an overspend of nearly £700,000 to pay for it all. Bad news for the accountants, good news for the church.
So the question is: is God calling people into ministry in the Church of England? And if he is calling an increased number of people into leadership, then what's he up to? Is it just more sinking rats joining the ship, or is there some mustard seed planting going on?
The CofE national budget, with all the figures is here, training figures on p12.