At a time when many churches in the West face a shortage of new vocations to the priesthood, the Church of England is enjoying a surge in ordinations.
Archdeacon Gordon Kuhrt, director of ministry for the Archbishops' Council of the Church of England, told ENI that he was "absolutely thrilled and optimistic" about the trend in ordinations.
According to official figures from the church, ordinations of both deacons and priests this year are the highest since the 1980s. Church dioceses reported that 396 people were to be ordained deacons this Petertide (near to St Peter's Day, June 29) -- a nine per cent increase on the previous' year, which in turn was higher than 1997. Some 362 deacons were to become priests -- an eight per cent increase on Petertide 1998.
In the Church of England today, deacons usually become priests after one year, although a few choose to be members of the "permanent diaconate."
Archdeacon Kuhrt identified four main reasons for the church's success in obtaining new vocations: growing confidence in the relevance of the gospel; the impact of the church's "much maligned" Decade of Evangelism; teams in parishes mixing clergy and lay people; and "sorting out its views" on women priests. …