The leaders of Save the Parish Cornwall have made inaccurate claims to local media and on a blog this week which has included hitting out at clergy in Cornwall.

We feel it is important that we share the correct facts and figures with you.

Save The Parish criticism of hard-working clergy

In a piece on their blog, which has been shared in a press release sent to Cornwall Live, the leaders of Save the Parish Cornwall have again criticised our hard-working clergy, singling out those who are starting new roles this month. In their article, Save the Parish undermined a number of clergy who have recently been appointed, claiming they are ‘inexperienced’.

To set the record straight, Curates are not “inexperienced” but have trained for five or six years including at least three years working in parishes. The curates appointed in recent months have applied for and been appointed to these posts because they are ready for them.

We know that everyone in the Diocese of Truro is working hard to do what the church is here for – to pray, to serve and to help people know God’s love. Our wonderful clergy are at the heart of that ministry, and we are grateful for them all and for you.

The article went on to claim that the diocese now has ‘more pen-pushing bureaucrats than priests in parishes’ before claiming that there was just one priest to 15,000 people, a figure apparently reached by dividing the population size of Cornwall by a random number.

These figures given by Save the Parish are not correct, and they know that because it has been pointed out to them. We paid 58 clergy stipends in February, far more than the number claimed by Save the Parish Cornwall. We have made eight new appointments in the last three months (not included in those figures). The numbers Save the Parish Cornwall uses also don’t include clergy at the cathedral, bishops, or house for duty clergy who receive a house instead of a stipend and work part-time.

We want to be clear. We don’t believe that 58 is enough, neither is 66, our plan is to increase the number of clergy to around 85 but Save the Parish Cornwall make this more difficult by trying to put clergy off moving to Cornwall and by attacking the clergy who are already here.

More applicants for pioneer & oversight posts than traditional roles

Save the Parish Cornwall know that we receive more applications for pioneer posts and oversight posts than we do for traditionally organised roles, but their leaders consistently say the opposite because it does not fit the story they want to tell.

The figures Save the Parish have given for Church House staff are also not accurate. In 2023 there were 31 FTE staff. In 2024, it is budgeted for 35.

Clergy put off applying for dioceses with active Save the Parish

All dioceses in the Church of England are having difficulty filling the number of posts available and we know from feedback that dioceses with active Save the Parish groups struggle more than others because clergy are wary of coming into an area where they will be harassed.

The church in Cornwall remains in robust health, serving our communities and helping people get to know God. It is a shame that the local Save the Parish leaders are putting more energy into knocking the church than they are into proactively supporting it.