CPG releases studies on seminary education, clergy, hymnal revision

Posted Dec 10, 2012

[Church Pension Group]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DECEMBER 2012

ATTENDING EPISCOPAL SEMINARY GIVES CLERGY DISTINCT ADVANTAGE IN CHURCH EMPLOYMENT

CHURCH’S “CENTER OF GRAVITY” SHIFTS FROM NORTHEAST TO SOUTHERN AND WESTERN U.S.

RECENT MUSIC SURVEY SHOWS STRONG SUPPORT AMONG LAITY FOR 1982 HYMNAL

CHURCH PENSION GROUP RELEASES THREE STUDIES THAT OFFER INSIGHTS AND SOME SURPRISES.

Three research reports of significance to the Episcopal Church have been posted by the Church Pension Group (CPG) Office of Research and are now available for free download at www.cpg.org/research.

The reports, which deal with seminary education, the current state of clergy, and the results of the Hymnal Revision Study, contain both interesting “food for thought” and data that may be surprising to some.

We would like to thank all those thousands of clergy, lay employees, and laity who took the time to complete surveys and provide us with this data,” said Dr. Matthew Price, CPG’s Vice President, Director of Research. “We hope these studies and our ongoing work on the state of the clergy are helpful to church leaders in these challenging times.”

The three new reports are described below:

Whither Thou Goest: Assessing the Current State of Seminaries and Seminarians identifies current trends around attendance at Episcopal Church-affiliated seminaries.

Among other things, the study shows that the average age of seminarians has risen considerably over the last six decades, from a low of 27 in 1955 to a recent high of 45. Postulants 35 and older are less likely to attend Episcopal Church-affiliated seminaries and all respondents indicated that, when deciding where to attend, proximity to an Episcopal Church-affiliated seminary appears not to be nearly as important as the influence of the bishop. Although female clergy attend Episcopal Church-affiliated seminaries at about the same rate as men, they earn lower salaries both after seminary and five to ten years into their careers.

The State of the Clergy 2012: A Report for the Episcopal Church is the most recent of CPG’s periodic reports on demographic trends in ordinations, geographical distribution, employment, and retirement.

Among other data, the study indicates that ordinations overall have fallen by 26% over the past six years, and ordinations to the priesthood have fallen by 31%. Ordinations to the vocational diaconate now make up 30% of all ordinations. Retirements currently outpace ordinations by 43%. And the geographical distribution of clergy in the Episcopal Church has changed over the past 100 years from predominantly Northeastern to much more Southern and Western.

The Hymnal Revision Feasibility Study was conducted on behalf of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM), which was directed by the 2009 General Convention to determine whether a revision to The Hymnal 1982 was needed or wanted by the Church.

This study surveyed Episcopal Church members, organists and choirmasters, and clergy via extensive, role-specific online questionnaires, focus groups with faculty at Episcopal seminaries, and site visits to dioceses in Province IX.

Analysis of the nearly 12,000 online responses and in-person interviews indicated that all parishioners were opposed to hymnal revision by a ratio of nearly 2 to 1. Nearly half of parishioners age 29 and under were opposed to revision, more so than members in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. These results were particularly significant given that over half of parishioner respondents indicated that music programs influenced their choice of current congregation. While clergy and music directors were more inclined toward revision than parishioners, the majorities of these groups were opposed, as well

The study also indicated that existing hymnal resources do not meet the liturgical needs of churches in the Spanish-speaking dioceses of Province IX.

Based on these results, the SCLM recommended that the 2012 General Convention not pursue any revision to The Hymnal 1982. However, General Convention did approve Resolution A048, calling for the formation of a congregational song task force to develop a variety of musical resources, and for the expansion of the work begun by the SCLM’s World Music Project to address Province IX’s need for new musical resources.

Visit www.cpg.org/research to read these three studies as well as other research reports. All downloads are free.

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CONTACT: Nancy Fisher, Senior Vice President, Director of Communications

(800) 223-6602 x1816; (212) 592-1816; nfisher@cpg.org


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