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Ageing Anglican Clergy and Performance Indicators in the Rural Church, Compared with the Suburban Church

  • Leslie J. Francis (a1) and David W. Lankshear (a2)

Abstract

This study employs path analysis to examine the relationship between clergy age and certain quantitative indices of church life in two samples: a sample of 1,553 villages and rural communities, ranging in size from 251 to 1,250 inhabitants and a sample of 584 suburban parishes. The data indicate that clergy aged sixty or over working in rural parishes tend to have contact with a smaller number of active church members, as indicated by attendance on a normal Sunday, than younger clergy working within comparable rural parishes, although they maintain contact with the same number of nominal church members, as indicated by the electoral roll and festival communicants. Clergy aged sixty years or over working in suburban parishes, on the other hand, have contact with the same number of active church members as younger clergy working within comparable suburban parishes. These findings are discussed in the light of a growing body of research which suggests that changing patterns of rural ministry may be generating difficulties and stresses for clergy approaching the age of retirement.

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