Latest wave of Living Ministry research published


The fourth set of findings from long-term research into how Church of England clergy can flourish in ministry has been published. 
Clergy at service Diocese of Birmingham

The fourth set of findings from long-term research into how Church of England clergy can flourish in ministry is published today by the Church of England.

Holding Things Together, Church of England Clergy in Changing Times builds on three previous waves of the Living Ministry research programme.

The latest analysis assesses changes in clergy well-being since before the pandemic as well as exploring how clergy manage change. A total of 486 clergy in active ministry took part in the research, conducted in March 2023.

Wellbeing was measured using questions on physical, mental, relational, financial, and vocational wellbeing repeated from previous Living Ministry surveys.

Some additional questions were included on social class, the cost-of-living crisis, and culture and psychological wellbeing.

Dr Liz Graveling from the Church of England’s national Ministry Development team,  who heads the Living Ministry research programme, said: "As ever, we are grateful to all those who shared their experiences in the latest Living Ministry survey.

“While there has been some recovery since the pandemic, this report shows that there is still much to be done to support the wellbeing of clergy and we hope these findings will assist dioceses and the national church to do so.”

More information 

  • Living Ministry is a mixed-methods, longitudinal research project following four cohorts of clergy through ten years of their ministry to explore what helps ordained ministers to flourish.
  • Clergy ordained in 2006, 2011 and 2015, and those who entered training in 2016 are invited to take part in an online survey and qualitative interviews every two years.
  • The first (Wave 1) survey took place early in 2017 and the most recent (Wave 4), which forms the basis of the analysis in this report, in March 2023.  Wave 2 was conducted in 2019 and Wave 3 in 2021.
  • A total of 521 clergy participated in the fourth wave, though not all went on to complete the survey. Of these 35 had left ordained ministry within the Church of England.
  • Of the 486 in active ministry who took part, 358 had also taken part in Wave 3, 376 in Wave 2 and 375 in Wave 1. 73 people responded for the first time or could not be linked to previous waves.
  • 55% of participants were female, which compares to 33% of all active clergy at the end of 2021. Of those who indicated their ethnic heritage, 97% were white and 3% GMH, with missing data for 6% of respondents.