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Women in training outnumber men at St Padarn’s Institute, Cardiff

06 May 2022

Church in Wales

St Padarn’s Institute, Cardiff

St Padarn’s Institute, Cardiff

WOMEN training for stipendiary ministry at St Padarn’s Institute, Cardiff, are now in a majority, outnumbering men by 18 to eight.

Three of the women are under 30 — deemed good news for the age profile; a further three are between 30 and 39; six are 40-49; four are 50-59; and two are between 60 and 69. Of the men training for stipendiary ministry, two are in the age bracket 30-39; one 40-49; four 50-59; and two 60-69.

Women also outnumber men among those training for self-supporting ministry, at 16 to 11. But there was concern about numbers training for licensed lay ministry, the Principal, the Revd Professor Jeremy Duff, said: there were ten women and two men currently in training, and the majority in the higher age brackets. “We need to see how the Spirit is prompting people to engage in lay ministry [generally across the Province],” he suggested.

Both the report and Professor Duff’s introduction spoke of how much had been achieved during what was acknowledged to have been the most challenging 12 months in the history of St Padarn’s. A theological student, Heather Temple-Williams (Llandaff), spoke of how hard it had been. “Some of us are feeling vulnerable; some of us are feeling lonely. . . We’re asking, how can we continue to nurture each other when we’ve missed so many opportunities?”

Professor Duff acknowledged that “one of the things the pandemic has done is that people feel inadequate for the task, those who have trained during the pandemic.”

Susan Fogarty (Bangor) commended the fast-tracking LLM scheme from which she had benefited. Mention by the Revd Steven Bunting (Swansea & Brecon) of the Peter Stream — a course for those who sense a call to ordination, but feel excluded for reasons of educational background — prompted Professor Duff to consider whether such training programmes in the past might have had the unintended consequence of actually making those candidates permanently second-class: “always seen as being in the second box, with the aspiration that they would be good parish assistants rather than archdeacons”.

What was needed, he said, was “extra support to to get to the same class, not the lower class. . . We need to support people further back [in the process]: people who lack confidence and would never sign up to a course. We should attend to that to produce confident people from that background.”

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