Guidance on Age Limits for Licensed Ministry

A) Licensed clergy

  1. My expectation is that most stipendiary priests will retire by the time they reach 70 years, and that they and non-stipendiary / OLM priests who offer to provide ministry beyond that age will normally do so on the basis of PtO rather than a common tenure licence.
  2. Where particular pastoral circumstances justify this, I am prepared to consider directing that a priest’s licence being extended on an annual basis beyond the age of 70. I will be guided by the advice of my episcopal colleagues in each situation. I will not issue such directions as a matter of course, nor should there be any expectation that I will.
  3. A particularly compelling case would need to be made for an extension of licence beyond the age of 72. It is highly unlikely that I will issue a directive for anybody over the age of 75.

B) Ordinands and potential ordinands

The expectation in this Diocese is that most stipendiary priests will retire by the time they reach the age of 70, and that they and self-supporting priests will normally offer ministry on the basis of PtO rather than licence after they reach this age. Given that it is only possible to be ordained onto a licence, the normal expectation is that the following age limits will apply to candidates expecting to offer ordained ministry.

  • Candidates offering themselves for stipendiary ministry will not normally be sent to a Bishops Advisory Panel beyond the age of 55.
  • Candidates offering themselves for self-supporting ministry will not normally be sent to a Bishops Advisory Panel beyond the age of 65.

Where particular pastoral circumstances justify this I am prepared to consider sponsoring a candidate at a later age. I will listen to the advice of the Bishops Directors of Ordinands in making this decision. I will not make such a decision as a matter of course, nor should there be any expectation that I will do so.

C) Potential Readers and Readers in training

  1. Given that the expectation in this Diocese is that most Readers will offer ministry on the basis of PTO rather than licence once they reach the age of 70, and given the need for a period of initial ministry (of at least one year) post-licensing, the normal expectation will be that candidates expecting to offer Reader ministry will need to be licensed and admitted for the first time by the age of 69.
  2. As they will need time in discernment and training before ordination, this means that candidates will not normally begin training beyond the age of 67.
  3. Where particular pastoral circumstances justify this I am prepared to consider sponsoring for training and/or licensing a candidate at a later age. I will listen to the advice of my Vocations team in making this decision. I will not make such a decision as a matter of course, nor should there be any expectation that I will.
  4. It is highly unlikely that I will allow a candidate to begin training beyond the age of 70.


Page last updated: 30th January 2020 8:23 AM