In 1959 the Church employed 13,075 stipendiary clergy and 250 diocesan support staff. There are now 6,500 support staff, most of whom are not ordained and have no contact with places where most Christian good is done, and are often on salaries well in excess of the stipends paid to parish priests. In addition, the Church now employs 116 bishops, despite the fact that when all England’s parishes had their own priest and a large congregation, 26 bishops were capable of looking after them.”

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Froghole · 25 January 2023 at 5:13 pm

The 6,500 number was referred to by the incumbent of St Paul’s Covent Garden in a letter to the Church Times dated 23 December 2022. However, I have seen no evidence for how that number (which is not far off the number of stipendiaries) has been calculated and has been arrived at.

Does it, for example, include readers, pastoral assistants and parish administrators? We ought to be told, otherwise it subverts the argument being made (i.e., that the bureaucracy is in a parasitical relationship with the front line).

The STP website notes (in its resources section) that there are 2,100 officials, but again sources are not cited. Many diocesan bureaucracies are rationalising the number of officials, so is that figure still current?

However, I am myself very much of the view that diocesan bureaucracies are indeed parasitical. There is one diocese where the secretary (who is in orders) is apparently paid £99,000 – a stipend higher than that of either archbishop or even the former dean of Christ Church, and yet this person manages a diocese that is forcing through a programme which will reduce stipendiary headcount and, much more seriously, close a good many churches, mostly in a region that has already suffered more closures per square mile than just about any other part of the country since the 1968 Pastoral Measure.

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