Our worshipping community is made up of 13,300 people of all ages and backgrounds.
“Our worshipping community is made up of people of all ages and backgrounds. We are responsible for 402 churches, 13 Deaneries, 86 Benefices, and 344 parishes - we are the Church of England in Herefordshire, south Shropshire, and parts of Monmouthshire, Powys, and Worcestershire. We were founded in 676 AD and cover roughly 1,650 square miles, with many of our church buildings of historical importance. Serving 326,000 people, we are part of the Church of England, which itself is part of the wider Anglican Communion.
Much of our diocese is intensely rural with many areas of outstanding natural beauty, yet the glorious landscape is often a setting for serious poverty and paucity of opportunity for chances in life.
Although we are not far removed from the urban areas where many people find employment, the areas have very distinctive characteristics of their own. This is traditional border country; cultures overlap and interact with each other within its boundaries. To the west our diocese shades into Wales; small differences can accumulate into something important. Sometimes boundaries seem distinct; to the east of Shropshire, the boundary is marked both by the longest steam preservation railway and the largest contiguous oak forest in England. The part of Telford that lies within our diocese, to the north, is both the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution - with its associated monuments and museums – and also a place where there is severe deprivation and social concern.
Nearly 12,000 children attend one of our 78 schools and academies, although 40% of these schools have fewer than 100 pupils; there are more pupils in our C of E schools than regular attendees at Sunday services. In 2022, we maintained over 110 properties across the diocese which are occupied mainly by our stipendiary clergy and curates. We have the fewest stipendiary ministers but the highest clergy level per person simply because we’re a rural diocese.
- Clergy (stipends, house for duty, and curates)
- Men: 61
- Women: 28
- Clergy (SSM figures)
- Men: 13
- Women: 17
- In 2022/23 we had around 70% of our churches signed up for the Parish Giving Scheme.