Church of England Vicar Shortage

1356711

Comments

  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    Here's the most recent Ministry Statistics 2019.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    Before they start reducing full-time parish posts they need to take a long, hard look at the number of suffragans and archdeacons.

    It was always my understanding that suffragans were introduced to share the burden of large numbers of churchgoers requiring things like confirmation services, plus sharing in the task of appointing clergy with archdeacons, and diocesan admin. Well, the numbers in the pews have plummeted, the admin is, by-and-large, done by professionals, and the number of clergy has fallen by roughly half. How to justify the 42 dioceses having 78 suffragans and 149 archdeacons?

    It won't actually save that much.
  • Maybe not but it would send a message to the (dwindling) faithful that TPTB have at least one fingernail hooked over the ledge called reality.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    Maybe not but it would send a message to the (dwindling) faithful that TPTB have at least one fingernail hooked over the ledge called reality.

    If only that were true!

  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited February 5
    FWIW, this Diocese will be down to just the Suffragan chap come summer, when the present Diocesan retires. Our Place comes under the episcopal oversight of one of the PEVs, who will no doubt be able to help out as required (well, in Certain Places, at least).

    One of the 3 Archdemons is now working part-time, so presumably that saves a few £££, but ISTM that it's with the rather vague posts such as *Diocesan Director of Really Inspirational Ministry* or the like where real savings could be made.

    As regards multi-church benefices advertising for a clergyperson, I can't see anything wrong with that per se, but hard decisions may have to be taken as to whether all the churches are still required for regular (or even infrequent - say, monthly) worship.
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    As regards multi-church benefices advertising for a clergyperson, I can't see anything wrong with that per se, but hard decisions may have to be taken as to whether all the churches are still required for regular (or even infrequent - say, monthly) worship.

    I hope country dwellers don't think it is arrogant of me to comment (as I have never worked in a rural area). But it occurs to me that most English villages have a church at the centre, which is often significant architecturally or from a heritage p.o.v. as well as socially. A friend of mine lives in rural France where the same is true. The shortage of priests is a big problem in both countries, but the difference is that in France, no priest = no mass = no congregation. In the C of E, we have a tradition of non-eucharistic worship, and even the most sacramentalist of Anglicans would be happy to accept regular lay-led Mattins as an alternative to the virtual closure of the church.

    Buildings can (and arguably should) be multi-purpose, and if a church could balance its books by using part of its building as a post-office, or village shop, or village hall, regular worship could still continue and the church would maintain its centrality in the community. There would be a group, however small, that prayed together faithfully (maybe building on some of the links that have been built up thanks to Zoom). Priests are important but in some ways buildings are more so, as long as they point to a living faith community and not, like those churches converted into housing, as a memorial to a dead tradition.
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited February 5
    I entirely agree, and lay-led worship should perhaps become the norm in a future with few priests, in order to maintain that worshipping community.

    There are already many examples, I'm sure, of imaginative uses of village church buildings, and new schemes should certainly be encouraged. Finance might be a problem, but, where there's a will...

    OTOH, there may well be a case for shedding isolated churches which do not form the centre of a village or hamlet, though what is then to be done with them is another problem.

    Incidentally, many large rural churches were never built primarily to accommodate a large congregation. I can think of one (in our neighbouring Diocese) which has nave, chancel, full-length north and south aisles (that is to say, stretching as far as the east end of the chancel), and a fine upstanding tower. At the time of the Reformation, there were (I'm told) only about 50 adult communicants in the whole parish...

    Here's a link - you will see that the building (closed at the moment, of course) is used for a variety of purposes:
    https://romneychurches.org/st-george-ivychurch#church-info


  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    angloid wrote: »
    As regards multi-church benefices advertising for a clergyperson, I can't see anything wrong with that per se, but hard decisions may have to be taken as to whether all the churches are still required for regular (or even infrequent - say, monthly) worship.

    I hope country dwellers don't think it is arrogant of me to comment (as I have never worked in a rural area). But it occurs to me that most English villages have a church at the centre, which is often significant architecturally or from a heritage p.o.v. as well as socially. A friend of mine lives in rural France where the same is true. The shortage of priests is a big problem in both countries, but the difference is that in France, no priest = no mass = no congregation. In the C of E, we have a tradition of non-eucharistic worship, and even the most sacramentalist of Anglicans would be happy to accept regular lay-led Mattins as an alternative to the virtual closure of the church.

    Buildings can (and arguably should) be multi-purpose, and if a church could balance its books by using part of its building as a post-office, or village shop, or village hall, regular worship could still continue and the church would maintain its centrality in the community. There would be a group, however small, that prayed together faithfully (maybe building on some of the links that have been built up thanks to Zoom). Priests are important but in some ways buildings are more so, as long as they point to a living faith community and not, like those churches converted into housing, as a memorial to a dead tradition.

    The other big difference from France is that the French state owns all religious buildings that pre-date 1905 and is responsible for their upkeep.
  • PendragonPendragon Shipmate
    edited February 5
    Ivychurch is the local exemplar of the phenomenon of "my church is bigger than your church", in this case probably the Archbishop taking on the Cinque Ports, which along with "look how wealthy we are" is a historic reason for several over-sized churches.

    Although it is in a different parish, the Romney Marsh does have a church in the middle of nowhere: St Thomas Becket, Fairfield. It is literally in a field, and apart from one service a month is mostly open as a curiosity (unspoiled interior). The carol service would be atmospheric as they have no electricity.
  • angloid wrote: »
    Buildings can (and arguably should) be multi-purpose, and if a church could balance its books by using part of its building as a post-office, or village shop, or village hall, regular worship could still continue and the church would maintain its centrality in the community.

    Two points here. 1. Yes, I agree that church buildings should be used in many ways - as surely they were in medieval times. However it is, I suspect, sometimes the folk who aren't members of the congregation who are horrified at such a suggestion! FWIW my own (Baptist) church was, when it opened in 1967, the only community building on a new housing estate and we housed the local Post Office for a number of years. To this day, one room is still known as "the Post Office room"!

    2. As long ago as 1996 (and, I'm sure, since) Leslie Francis has been advocating lay-led worship: see https://tinyurl.com/ybej8g2g. However even then he questioned where these lay leaders would be coming from, as his survey of many rural churches revealed a paucity of potential recruits. (Same is true of the URC where 'local leaders' have been the unattainable Holy Grail for many years).
  • angloidangloid Shipmate

    As long ago as 1996 (and, I'm sure, since) Leslie Francis has been advocating lay-led worship: see https://tinyurl.com/ybej8g2g. However even then he questioned where these lay leaders would be coming from, as his survey of many rural churches revealed a paucity of potential recruits. (Same is true of the URC where 'local leaders' have been the unattainable Holy Grail for many years).

    I take the point. But I wasn't thinking so much of a grand service with one person (priest or reader) 'up front' – which is a frightening prospect for anyone, only compounded by the C of E's formal Reader training being almost as rigorous (rightly so) as that for clergy. I was thinking more 'when two are three are gathered together in my name': people – and in a village community it's likely that they might include other than card-carrying Anglicans – who could meet together for a time of quiet prayer. No-one needs to 'lead' such worship; it could even be Quaker-like silence, but more likely a simple office which only needs all to agree who should do what. No need for a sermon; no need for anyone to robe or mount a pulpit. Cranmer's ideal was for all Christians to share in the round of prayer which up till then had been the preserve of the clergy or monks and nuns.
    Alan29 wrote: »

    The other big difference from France is that the French state owns all religious buildings that pre-date 1905 and is responsible for their upkeep.

    True dat. But I don't see how that should make it difficult for priestless congregations to gather. I'd imagine the opposite: in the English context people might be reluctant to engage with the church community because of the worries of having to maintain the building.
  • Forty odd years ago my parents refused to support the campaign to build a village hall in their tiny village as they felt that the better option was to conserve the church and use it as a hall. It's a tiny church, packed out at Christmas and harvest when I was around, with less than 100 people, looking full with 40 people inside. I've just checked, it is in a grouping with five other village churches and has a named priest in charge (it has been in a grouping of 18 churches supported by three teams led by two clergy at one stage), and is down for first Sunday of the month Holy Communion and second Sunday Morning Praise, which I suspect is lay led.

    This is an area with a degree of non-conformity and resistance to using the church, so my parents didn't prevail: a village hall was built. Which means there are now two community buildings competing for the limited funding and support to maintain and run them. At the time the population, including outlying farms, was 120.

    There have been movements to encourage the wider uses of churches I'm out of touch, but a decade ago there was someone really pushing this in the CofE
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited February 5
    @KarlLB ’s situation looks interesting and highlights multiple problems that are all increasing in level / volume / noise

    * Lay led congregations still ok? Are the diocese making long term plans here?

    * The sanity or otherwise of rent-a-rev ?

    * Permanent diaconate... or not?

    * Parishes ( with a paid rev) now the size of what many once knew as deaneries.

    * Inclusion (Or not). Not going near That dead horse!

    * The Church body physically present in a distinct geographical area V Commuting to a church building of same flavour

    Which links in with

    * the importance or otherwise of belonging to a specific denomination?

    Those last two would be key for me. Might not be for @KarlLB tho







    I am just off to order the book @Cathscats mentions, as her points are a little too close to home for our own situation
  • It is not a daunting read, @Ethne Alba . In fact it is gripping and inspirational.
  • Before they start reducing full-time parish posts they need to take a long, hard look at the number of suffragans and archdeacons.

    It was always my understanding that suffragans were introduced to share the burden of large numbers of churchgoers requiring things like confirmation services, plus sharing in the task of appointing clergy with archdeacons, and diocesan admin. Well, the numbers in the pews have plummeted, the admin is, by-and-large, done by professionals, and the number of clergy has fallen by roughly half. How to justify the 42 dioceses having 78 suffragans and 149 archdeacons?

    Then there are parishes in cities with 2 (or more) full-time clergy to look after a small geographical area while in the countryside one priest is meant to look after multiple churches and separate communities spread over a wide area. The latest Church Times has 2 adverts each for 1 priest to cover 5 parishes spread over 6 villages.

    If a parish priest takes on the ‘cure of souls’ it’s the number of people which is more important than the number of miles. Fifteen villages and their churches might serve hundreds of people, while a city church might serve thousands. The massive problems buildings add to the mix shouldn’t be burdened upon the clergy imo, but they often are and good church wardens are hard to find.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    ...good church wardens are hard to find.

    Not just wardens. Even harder to find are good treasurers and then you also need such people as Safe Church Co-ordinators etc etc. And if you don't have these people, more of the admin falls upon the clergy (who is ultimately going to be the one held responsible if something bad happens).

  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    ...good church wardens are hard to find.
    Even harder to find are good treasurers

    As a barely-adequate-on-my-best-days treasurer I heartily endorse this.
  • There comes a point though with multi parish benefices when the miles do become a serious hurdle to the health of both priest and congregation.

    In the case of the former, it's how much can you fit in a Sunday without it being physically bad for you long term. Driving on country lanes can be quite tiring, let alone the time commitment to do two or three services per day. To give everyone a service for a major festival like Easter would take all day.

    For the latter, not having many services if there is an expectation it's all priest led won't help build a spiritual community. If you go somewhere new what message does it send if the vicar can never hang around and talk afterwards because they have to dash off and do it all over again elsewhere?

    Sometimes also places get lumped together based on geography rather than churchmanship: you sometimes see it in job ads for priests when they talk about "bringing a range of traditions together". Long term it is unlikely that everyone can be satisfied, especially if you are a parish at one end of the spectrum or the other, which has basically been given a choice of put up with it or get nobody.

    In an urban area you might end up with a "resource church" and everything around it coming under their influence, apart from those which have developed good lay leadership. Locally this means that a fair chunk of one deanery is de facto controlled by the HTB stable.

    We have "rent a rev" for most of the AC parishes locally, but that is the same two or three priests, well past retirement, looking after them.
  • An interesting development in our urban deanery is the appointment of a new priest-in-charge to what has always been a MOTR to High Church parish.

    The p-in-c is currently assistant priest at our nearby charismatic-evo parish, but I think she's broad-minded enough to be OK with wearing a chasuble for the Sunday Eucharist, and swinging incense on high days and holy days! She may well be called upon to help from time to time with two neighbouring MOTR parishes, currently sharing a priest who is not too far off her retirement...

  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    Two things here (obviously not about the specific priest and parish you mention)

    [1] Many priests who have been formed in an evangelical/low church context grow to appreciate sacramental worship and a more strongly liturgical tradition. If they move to a parish of that tradition they probably find themselves 'flying by the seat of their pants' and not sufficiently formed in it to be able to relax and offer liturgy as prayerfully as it might be. It seems to me that some learning time in a more 'Catholic' environment than they have been accustomed to might be valuable. Or at least having a mentor (not necessarily a priest) who could offer support in liturgy and spiritual discipline. (I'm not suggesting that evangelicals don't have spiritual discipline, just that forms of it may differ).
    [2] There is a rather more worrying trend, that some evangelical parishes (mentioning no names but you can probably guess) take over anglo-catholic churches, promise that they will respect the tradition, go through the motions of keeping the Sung Mass at 10.00, then once they have introduced praise bands and extravert mega-church worship to a later time slot, gradually run down the former and eventually remove all traces of the original tradition.
  • This week's Church Times has an advertisement from the diocese of Sheffield looking to fill 4 "Associate Archdeacon Mission and Transition Enabler" posts (salary £35,062 plus either housing or £5k pa housing allowance) and an "Oversight Minister for the flowing waters mission area" at the same salary. Other dioceses have similar central/non-parish jobs on offer at the moment.

    When parishes are being told there are too few priests for them to have an incumbent, how can this sort of thing be justified?
  • Does that ever happen the other way round in CofE churches ? broadly speaking from Low to High ?
  • Management is the current epidemic in the Church of England. It is reaching crisis point. Spirituality feels like an optional extra, too much of the time.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Does that ever happen the other way round in CofE churches ? broadly speaking from Low to High ?

    Not for a long time. The issue is that evangelical churches are currently the ones producing a surfeit of vocations in the CofE.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    This week's Church Times has an advertisement from the diocese of Sheffield looking to fill 4 "Associate Archdeacon Mission and Transition Enabler" posts (salary £35,062 plus either housing or £5k pa housing allowance) and an "Oversight Minister for the flowing waters mission area" at the same salary. Other dioceses have similar central/non-parish jobs on offer at the moment.

    When parishes are being told there are too few priests for them to have an incumbent, how can this sort of thing be justified?

    Would I sound cynical if I said that this looks as though attracting new, younger givers with plenty of years ahead of them is more highly prized than continuing to invest in an ever-dwindling pool of old people?
  • angloidangloid Shipmate
    David wrote: »

    Would I sound cynical if I said that this looks as though attracting new, younger givers with plenty of years ahead of them is more highly prized than continuing to invest in an ever-dwindling pool of old people?

    Which is not light years away from the 'herd immunity' theory of dealing with Coronavirus. Don't bother about the old, they'll die soon enough anyway.
  • I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.
  • David wrote: »
    This week's Church Times has an advertisement from the diocese of Sheffield looking to fill 4 "Associate Archdeacon Mission and Transition Enabler" posts (salary £35,062 plus either housing or £5k pa housing allowance) and an "Oversight Minister for the flowing waters mission area" at the same salary. Other dioceses have similar central/non-parish jobs on offer at the moment.

    When parishes are being told there are too few priests for them to have an incumbent, how can this sort of thing be justified?

    Would I sound cynical if I said that this looks as though attracting new, younger givers with plenty of years ahead of them is more highly prized than continuing to invest in an ever-dwindling pool of old people?

    This seems to be the thrust of it, attract younger people even if that means it is at the expense of older ones, but it clearly shouldn’t be that way.

    It seems to me from personal experience that unless people were brought up with the traditional language and liturgy and are therefore familiar with it, it probably won’t hit the spot, the Holy Spirit being deep and slow running, the faithful nourished without necessarily knowing it. Younger or newer seekers often prefer to experience the Holy Spirit as a rushing waterfall, which is far more exciting but which is unpredictable and which brings hunger as well as satiation.

    Why one or the other? We have so many outlets and such a diversity of people lay and ordained who God has called into service already that we can surely cater for everyone. The die-hards who insist on having it their way or no way sometimes stand in the way of the Holy Spirit, who is ever creative.
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    They certainly don't in my diocese. I think the bishop gets a slightly larger travel and entertainment allowance and a car.
  • I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    🤣🤣 God bless your naïvete.

    Salaries for senior clergy 2019-20
    Archbishop of Canterbury 83,400
    Archbishop of York 71470
    Bishop of London 65,510
    Diocesan bishops 45,270
    Suffragan bishops 36,930
    Deans 36,930
    Archdeacons 36,100
    Residentiary canons 30,518

    Parish clergy
    * National Minimum Stipend 24,770
    * National Stipend Benchmark 26,470
    Resettlement grant 2,477

    * in 2018-19 these figures were £24,280 and £25,950. The lowest figure across the dioceses was Hereford at £25,350; Oxford was highest at £26,877.

    In short, the average stipend for an incumbent is just 30.7% of that for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Granted the differential is much less than, say, that between someone on a checkout and the CEO of Tesco but it's still hefty.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    Plus a seat in the house of lords. And a free palace and a free car, all paid for by the pensioner in the pew.

    Nice work if you can get it.
  • Forthview wrote: »
    Does that ever happen the other way round in CofE churches ? broadly speaking from Low to High ?

    Not for a long time. The issue is that evangelical churches are currently the ones producing a surfeit of vocations in the CofE.

    And so many dioceses are very liberal, with small High church pockets that the diocese can be rather off putting for those going through discernment as Anglo Catholics. Not to mention the cases where the diocese has said "drop the PEV or we won't let you get anyone".
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Do those salary figures for the Abps of Canterbury and York, and the other bishops include expense allowances? I can imagine that there's a fair bit of that to be done.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Do those salary figures for the Abps of Canterbury and York, and the other bishops include expense allowances? I can imagine that there's a fair bit of that to be done.

    No. They get the usual allowances as for an incumbent (housing, council tax, water rates, repairs, insurance, office expenses) in addition to that.

    More important, their employer's pension contributions are much higher, so they get a much better pension when they retire. I don't have a current figure for that, but in 2012 it was reported that the pension of an ex-archbishop was in the range £21,000-28,000. To put that in context in 2020 the average pension pot of the self-employed in the UK was £28,000-36,000, which would give an annual pension (single life annuity) of up to £900 per year.
  • john holdingjohn holding Ecclesiantics Host, Mystery Worshipper Host
    David wrote: »
    Plus a seat in the house of lords. And a free palace and a free car, all paid for by the pensioner in the pew.

    Nice work if you can get it.

    Right if you're talking about Canterbury or York. Otherwise nearly as many diocesans (and all suffragans) do not sit in the Lords as do. And there are precious few episcopal dwellings that are palaces in anything but, perhaps, in name. Not constrained, but hardly palaces. Canterbury, for example, "lives in a palace", but actually in a flat that takes up a tiny portion of the building.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    TheOrganist - thanks for the detail. The pension arrangements seem very different to here for a start.
    David wrote: »
    Plus a seat in the house of lords. And a free palace and a free car, all paid for by the pensioner in the pew.

    Nice work if you can get it.

    How much does the pensioner in the pew pay towards the seat in the House of Lords? I agree that it's well over time that the bishops did not sit there and that the House generally be reformed. Rectors in Sydney get a car allowance and comfortable house - indeed, if a parish does not supply a house, it loses its right to seats at Synod, or something like that.
  • There is £323 a day attendance allowance for those bishops who are in the Lords, but that is taken care of by the general taxpayer and other revenue sources, who may or may not take up a pew spot.

    Some income differential at the higher reaches is inevitable, owing to presentation and hospitality costs. Cars with the job are an unfortunate necessity; in Canada most dioceses require parishes to cover car use for parish purposes (a clerical friend of mine has a gadget attached to his car where he punches in parish use or personal use and kilometrage is automatically tracked)-- I do not know if bishops still get drivers. I have always thought that this would be a useful occupation for deacons-- instead of being a synkellos, they could be a syncochus.

    Idly looking at some US clerical remuneration schemes, I find that a major line for bishops' costs is health insurance and for health savings accounts-- in one case about US$30k. I only know the inside finances of two TEC parishes, and both subsidize private school education for children of the rectory (at about US$15k/kid). I don't find these provisions scandalous but I have another opinion of one US diocese which provided a very very expensive apartment for a bishop being quietly shown out the door for adultery. Some individual parishes provide an astonishing package of benefits, but several I know in the border country up near Canada are bereft of such things, focussing more on keeping the incumbent's car in new snow tires.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Children of Anglican and Uniting Church clergy get much reduced school fees here at schools of the relevant church. I don't know if that still applies `for continuing Presbyterian clergy (and as far as I can recall, there are only a couple of Presbyterian schools still in Sydney).
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    The C of E pension scheme is non contributory for clergy. Certain roles attract a higher level of pension. Basically what you get is calculated on the church’s National Minimum Stipend moderated by how many years of service the person retiring has. But there is an uplift for those in the hierarchy: Archbishops of Canterbury and York x 2;Bishop of London x 1.8; other diocesan bishops x 1.5; suffragan bishops, deans, provosts and archdeacons x 1.25.

    I agree that the Church of England is inconsistent about stipends (and pensions). One theory is that it’s simply a “living allowance” to enable a person to fulfil their office without undue anxiety about finance. A problem with this idea is that there’s no differentiation for circumstances. A single clergy person is probably OK. A clergyperson with a non-earning spouse and two or three children is being paid at a level at which the government considers the income needs topping up with tax credits. This means, by implication, the ‘allowance for living’ is inadequate.

    On the other hand hierarchy are paid more on the basis that they have greater responsibility (different theory based on ‘the labourer is worthy of his/her hire’). But it’s not really clear to most parochial clergy that, for example, an archdeacon’s role is necessarily more demanding than a parish priest’s. And the idea that every parochial post is equal in demand and responsibility to every other (which is the implication of the stipend for parochial clergy) is an evident fiction.

    So the answer to the question why clergy are paid the same however demanding their parish is that the stipend is “an allowance for living”. The answer to the question why the hierarchy get paid more is that ‘the labourer is worthy of his/her hire’
  • Zappa wrote: »
    I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    They certainly don't in my diocese. I think the bishop gets a slightly larger travel and entertainment allowance and a car.

    That is a similar situation in our Australian diocese. One of our previous rectors was an area archdeacon. The only additional money granted to her was $5000 p.a. to cover office expenses, including any secretarial help she found necessary. Our heritage-listed episcopal residence has been sold, and the diocesan and assistant bishops all live in modern apartments. The bishop's stipend is funded from the bequest left to the diocese by our first bishop almost 150 years ago.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    David wrote: »
    Plus a seat in the house of lords. And a free palace and a free car, all paid for by the pensioner in the pew.

    Nice work if you can get it.

    Right if you're talking about Canterbury or York. Otherwise nearly as many diocesans (and all suffragans) do not sit in the Lords as do.

    It’s exactly half and half. Canterbury, York, London, Durham, and Winchester get a guaranteed seat. Of the remaining 35 diocesan bishops, the 21 most senior get a seat.

    There’s a special arrangement in place until 2025 which means that all newly-appointed women diocesan bishops get an automatic seat regardless of seniority.

  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    TheOrganist - thanks for the detail. The pension arrangements seem very different to here for a start.
    David wrote: »
    Plus a seat in the house of lords. And a free palace and a free car, all paid for by the pensioner in the pew.

    Nice work if you can get it.

    How much does the pensioner in the pew pay towards the seat in the House of Lords? I agree that it's well over time that the bishops did not sit there and that the House generally be reformed. Rectors in Sydney get a car allowance and comfortable house - indeed, if a parish does not supply a house, it loses its right to seats at Synod, or something like that.

    Directly, nothing. That’s why it’s in a separate sentence. Average giving is £15 per person per month.

    The most recently published annual stipend bill for clergy is £213 million. That doesn’t include pension contributions, which I think are a further 39 per cent.

    The Church of England is expensive. Is it also good value for money?
  • I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    🤣🤣 God bless your naïvete.

    Salaries for senior clergy 2019-20
    Archbishop of Canterbury 83,400
    Archbishop of York 71470
    Bishop of London 65,510
    Diocesan bishops 45,270
    Suffragan bishops 36,930
    Deans 36,930
    Archdeacons 36,100
    Residentiary canons 30,518

    Parish clergy
    * National Minimum Stipend 24,770
    * National Stipend Benchmark 26,470
    Resettlement grant 2,477

    * in 2018-19 these figures were £24,280 and £25,950. The lowest figure across the dioceses was Hereford at £25,350; Oxford was highest at £26,877.

    In short, the average stipend for an incumbent is just 30.7% of that for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Granted the differential is much less than, say, that between someone on a checkout and the CEO of Tesco but it's still hefty.

    Oh I'm well aware of the figures, and have been for a couple of decades (clergy family), I just remain puzzled that anyone can look at them and think it's right.

    Incidentally I think stipends are pretty decent in terms of income to live on - once you take out pension contributions, council tax, increased income tax, NI and student loan contributions, plus rent and water bills a CofE stipend is more generous than my salary as a teacher. Where it falls short is that I can pay a mortgage instead of rent, while clergy have to make other arrangements for retirement.

  • Incidentally I think stipends are pretty decent in terms of income to live on - once you take out pension contributions, council tax, increased income tax, NI and student loan contributions, plus rent and water bills a CofE stipend is more generous than my salary as a teacher. Where it falls short is that I can pay a mortgage instead of rent, while clergy have to make other arrangements for retirement.

    I agree that you have to consider the whole package, which includes housing where the diocese pays for repairs and necessary improvements. When you take it all into consideration, it's much better than the bald stipend figures might suggest.

    On the other hand, there is no doubt that the value of the package is not at the same levels as it once was. In the 70s & 80s, it was often suggested that clergy remunerations should be comparable to those of a "similar" status in the community - such as GPs or headteachers. If you were to do such a comparison today, I think that you would see a distinct difference.

    One matter where things have definitely changed for the worse is the retirement lump sum. Back then, this was intended to help a priest buy a home on retirement and it would have gone a long way to achieving this. Now, after house prices have risen so far, it won't probably even pay the deposit. If you weren't already in the housing market before ordination, you've almost no chance these days, so you'll either have to rent (which is probably going to be more than a mortgage payment) or throw yourself on the mercy of the retirement housing scheme (which is can't really cope with the demand and was only intended originally to deal with relatively few people).
  • ZappaZappa Ecclesiantics Host
    Zappa wrote: »
    I'm still bewildered by the idea that "senior" clergy should get a higher stipend than a parish priest. Surely the whole point of the stipend is that it is not a reward for skill or labour but a means to free up time to prevent the recipient having to take paid work, and the amount required doesn't depend on the post held.

    They certainly don't in my diocese. I think the bishop gets a slightly larger travel and entertainment allowance and a car.

    That is a similar situation in our Australian diocese. One of our previous rectors was an area archdeacon. The only additional money granted to her was $5000 p.a. to cover office expenses, including any secretarial help she found necessary. Our heritage-listed episcopal residence has been sold, and the diocesan and assistant bishops all live in modern apartments. The bishop's stipend is funded from the bequest left to the diocese by our first bishop almost 150 years ago.

    At the risk of virtue signalling, archdeacons in this diocese receive no extra. We did get a $500 gift petrol voucher each year but have declined it from last year on. In my case it would have been fraudulent anyway because I am paid (the same rate) by a separate Trust, and would have been double-dipping as I claim my (high) mileage from that Trust.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before they start reducing full-time parish posts they need to take a long, hard look at the number of suffragans and archdeacons.

    It was always my understanding that suffragans were introduced to share the burden of large numbers of churchgoers requiring things like confirmation services, plus sharing in the task of appointing clergy with archdeacons, and diocesan admin. Well, the numbers in the pews have plummeted, the admin is, by-and-large, done by professionals, and the number of clergy has fallen by roughly half. How to justify the 42 dioceses having 78 suffragans and 149 archdeacons?

    Then there are parishes in cities with 2 (or more) full-time clergy to look after a small geographical area while in the countryside one priest is meant to look after multiple churches and separate communities spread over a wide area. The latest Church Times has 2 adverts each for 1 priest to cover 5 parishes spread over 6 villages.

    If a parish priest takes on the ‘cure of souls’ it’s the number of people which is more important than the number of miles. Fifteen villages and their churches might serve hundreds of people, while a city church might serve thousands. The massive problems buildings add to the mix shouldn’t be burdened upon the clergy imo, but they often are and good church wardens are hard to find.

    (sighs) They don't have sole "cure." What do you think that we non Anglicans are doing?

    I must admit that this is one aspect of Anglicanism I find very presumptive - a Bishop delivering the sole cure of a parish into the hands of a new Vicar with 25 in the church whilst the leader of the local non-conformist church with a congregation of 250 stands quietly by.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before they start reducing full-time parish posts they need to take a long, hard look at the number of suffragans and archdeacons.

    It was always my understanding that suffragans were introduced to share the burden of large numbers of churchgoers requiring things like confirmation services, plus sharing in the task of appointing clergy with archdeacons, and diocesan admin. Well, the numbers in the pews have plummeted, the admin is, by-and-large, done by professionals, and the number of clergy has fallen by roughly half. How to justify the 42 dioceses having 78 suffragans and 149 archdeacons?

    Then there are parishes in cities with 2 (or more) full-time clergy to look after a small geographical area while in the countryside one priest is meant to look after multiple churches and separate communities spread over a wide area. The latest Church Times has 2 adverts each for 1 priest to cover 5 parishes spread over 6 villages.

    If a parish priest takes on the ‘cure of souls’ it’s the number of people which is more important than the number of miles. Fifteen villages and their churches might serve hundreds of people, while a city church might serve thousands. The massive problems buildings add to the mix shouldn’t be burdened upon the clergy imo, but they often are and good church wardens are hard to find.

    (sighs) They don't have sole "cure." What do you think that we non Anglicans are doing?

    I must admit that this is one aspect of Anglicanism I find very presumptive - a Bishop delivering the sole cure of a parish into the hands of a new Vicar with 25 in the church whilst the leader of the local non-conformist church with a congregation of 250 stands quietly by.

    Or the Anglican priest in a town of 8000 people provides for them all, even though only 50 are members of the church where she is based, while the three other denominational churches with a total of 100 members between them look after their own?

    Every area will be different. What’s important is that all of the people in the parish are cared for, surely.
  • Raptor Eye wrote: »
    Before they start reducing full-time parish posts they need to take a long, hard look at the number of suffragans and archdeacons.

    It was always my understanding that suffragans were introduced to share the burden of large numbers of churchgoers requiring things like confirmation services, plus sharing in the task of appointing clergy with archdeacons, and diocesan admin. Well, the numbers in the pews have plummeted, the admin is, by-and-large, done by professionals, and the number of clergy has fallen by roughly half. How to justify the 42 dioceses having 78 suffragans and 149 archdeacons?

    Then there are parishes in cities with 2 (or more) full-time clergy to look after a small geographical area while in the countryside one priest is meant to look after multiple churches and separate communities spread over a wide area. The latest Church Times has 2 adverts each for 1 priest to cover 5 parishes spread over 6 villages.

    If a parish priest takes on the ‘cure of souls’ it’s the number of people which is more important than the number of miles. Fifteen villages and their churches might serve hundreds of people, while a city church might serve thousands. The massive problems buildings add to the mix shouldn’t be burdened upon the clergy imo, but they often are and good church wardens are hard to find.

    (sighs) They don't have sole "cure." What do you think that we non Anglicans are doing?

    I must admit that this is one aspect of Anglicanism I find very presumptive - a Bishop delivering the sole cure of a parish into the hands of a new Vicar with 25 in the church whilst the leader of the local non-conformist church with a congregation of 250 stands quietly by.

    In England, given the Established nature of that Church, my guess is that legally a vicar does have formal responsibility for all those in the parish, including those who are Catholic, Methodist or Baptist - and those who are Muslim, Hindu or Jewish, I imagine. Like a lot about the CofE, this is probably a legal fiction without which the whole structure of the Church might collapse.

    Of course, here the Church in Wales disestablished. That means that we have no excuse for assuming that we have the same legal responsibility for all those living in the parish.
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    Roll on disestablishment!
  • Anyone living within a CofE parish can ask the CofE church to provide a baptism, wedding or funeral service and if they qualify*, the CofE parish has to provide that service. That's not the case for any non-conformist minster in that parish.

    If, genuinely, there is no-one available to take said funeral, because, say, the minister is already taking another service in another church in the team, which is the usual one that's challenging to organise, it is down to the parish to find someone else and ensure the right payments are made. Occasionally the funeral directors will offer alternatives, but that's not always an unalloyed benefit.

    * more a wedding thing - that people do live in or have a link to the parish, are old enough, not already married, have a legal right to be in the country and the wedding looks genuine.
Sign In or Register to comment.