Sir, - May I add to the recent correspondence about the age of
ordinands? (Letters, 20 July).
Some years ago, I felt I had a call to ordination, but I am
married after divorce, and I did not feel able to submit myself to
the intrusive and intimidating enquiries that are deemed necessary
for people in that situation who seek ordination. I therefore put
myself forward for Reader training, and was licensed as a Reader
seven years ago.
Although I have found Reader ministry immensely rewarding and a
great privilege, I continued to feel the call towards
ordination. A few months ago, I made preliminary enquiries with my
diocese, only to be told that no one would be considered for
ordination who would be 63 or over at the expected date of
ordination. I am now 67.
The reason given for this rule is that, since priests are
obliged to retire at 70, the Church needs to be able to expect
seven years' service to justify the cost of training an
Leaving aside my own case - I am well aware that I might well
not have been sent to a Bishops' Advisory Panel, even had I been
ten years younger - it seems a very shortsighted policy. Many older
people offering for ordination would be self-supporting after their
training; and many could probably fund the cost of their
The Church, especially in rural areas, relies heavily on the
services of retired clergy. Why turn down people offering
themselves for ordination solely on account of their age?
Name and Address Supplied