The Sunday Telegraph

Church profligacy


SIR – Donald R Clarke (Letters, April 7) is right that parishes are desperatel­y short of clergy and the income necessary to support them. One reason for this is that nearly 1,000 ordained clergy occupy administra­tive roles in the Church of England rather than being deployed as frontline vicars (of which there are only 6,550).

Another is that diocesan expenditur­e is running at roughly twice what it should be. This is in part due to the fact that dioceses are hiring costly administra­tive staff. The Diocese of Lichfield, for example, has a high vacancy rate (no vicar in post), and yet is advertisin­g for a director of communicat­ions on £50,000 per annum for a 35-hour week.

The number of ordinands in training is down by 40 per cent, while the Church has known for well over a decade that 20 per cent of its clergy are due to retire by 2025.

Compoundin­g this, as Emma Thompson wrote (Comment,, March 19): “The CofE is facing an existentia­l crisis, manifestin­g itself in fewer bums on seats and a chronic lack of volunteers.” Jonathan Baird

Member, General Synod (Laity) Conock, Wiltshire

SIR – Travelling by narrowboat, we visit many villages and their churches (Letters, April 7). One church decided to drop a note through the letterboxe­s of all the new homes that had been built, saying it appreciate­d that people may not be able to attend services regularly, but would surely wish the church to be there for christenin­gs, weddings and funerals.

It asked if they would be able to make a regular donation. It also mentioned the forthcomin­g fete, and was overwhelme­d by the number of donated items and visitors.

In another village, I was delayed crossing the road on my way to the church service by a large number of participan­ts in a charity race. I realised that even though these people were not sitting in a pew, they were showing love for their neighbour by their great physical effort.

Helga Rushton

Harrogate, North Yorkshire

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