As previously reported, a representative survey of Anglican clergy was recently commissioned to inform our new debate series on the future of the Church of England.
The survey was administered online by YouGov in August 2014 and completed by 1,500 clergy from a random sample. Its design was informed by a reference group drawn from across the CofE. The responses confirm that it is representative of clergy of all churchmanships.
When asked how important it is to maintain the parish system 83% say it is important, 12% not important, and 5% have no strong feelings either way. There is no other topic in the survey (which asked 29 questions in total) on which there is such uniformity of opinion – except the belief that there is a ‘personal God’ (83%).
On the related topic of providing clergy housing there is greater variety of opinion. Clergy are almost evenly split over whether to retain the current system or pursue a range of alternatives which allow choice over accommodation.
One reason for the high level of support for the parish system may be clergy’s belief that the CofE exists to serve the whole nation. When asked who the Church should prioritise 2/3 say ‘England as a whole’ and only 5% say regular churchgoers.
The full survey will be made available on this site on 23rd October.