Ladies made up nearly all of CofE deacons for the primary time in 2019

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(Photo: Keith Blundy)

Women made up just over half of the new deacons ordained in the Church of England last year.

It is the first time that women make up the majority of the newly ordained deacons in the CofE.

According to the latest figures released today, women accounted for 51% of the 570 new deacons.

The new statistics also show that women made up around a third (32%) of the CofE's active clergy in 2019 and more and more senior positions such as bishops, archdeacons and deans of the cathedral, from a quarter in 2018 to 27% last year .

While the number of paid clergy remained stable at 7,700, there was a drop in readers or licensed lay ministers from just under 10,000 in 2010 to 7,830 last year.

The proportion of scholarship holders from black, Asian or ethnic minorities (BAME) was 3.8%, while the proportion of those who completed training as an ordained minister with a BAME background was 7.8%.

Around a quarter (24%) of those who started ordination training in the past year were younger than 32.

Pastor Chris Goldsmith, director of the Ministry of the Church of England, said: "There has been increasing diversity among our clergy in recent years, but we will not be satisfied until those in the public service truly reflect the entire Church and congregations whom they serve. "

He added: "The contribution of lay preachers to the mission and ministry of the Church will be at the forefront both in the maintenance of the daily life of the parishes and ministers and in the areas of innovation and spiritual entrepreneurship, which are the expression of the Church as a Christian increasingly characterized, much appreciated presence in every community. "

Libby Lane, Bishop of Derby – the first bishop in the CofE – said: "Women are a widespread presence among clergymen in the Church of England today – praise God. However, there are other underrepresented groups whose ordination ordination is missing.

"I pray that lessons from women's encouragement can make a difference for those who are not yet recognized, so the Church of England clergy at all levels better reflect the glorious diversity of our country."

She added: "Last year was 25 years since I was ordained. For more than a quarter of a century women and men have been selected, trained, ordained, and appointed to serve in the Church of England.

"I thank God for the privilege of my ministry and for the thousands of women and men who have shared this calling during this time."

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