29 percent of the priests the Norwegian Church is over 60 years, and 400 will be retiring in the next ten years. The Church is now turning to Christian youth groups in order to ensure that more priest are recruited.
The Church is already struggling with filling vacant priest positions across the country, and recent 2015 figures from the National Council suggests that the priest shortage will persist, the newspaper Vårt Land writes.
Figures show that 374 out of a total of 1,294 priests are over 60, while 385 are between 50 and 59 years.
– I usually say that we can be sure that every fourth priest will be gone in ten years, manager Martin Engstad the Priestly Society says.
Church Council director, Jens-Petter Johnsen, said that church once more have to facilitate recruitment efforts towards the Christian youth organizations if it is to be able to increase the number of priests in Norway. In the 1970s, the Church recruited a large number of priests through a large and comprehensive youth work.
– We see that 90 percent of those who start their theology studies these days, are connected to Christian youth groups. That means we have to focus our attention on these communities in order to increase recruitment.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today