Monday, 15 December 2014

Reactions to the Green report


Several commentators have written about these proposals for business school style training programmes for selected clergy. Here are some links, and I will add more as I discover them (or as readers report them to me).

Andrew Lightbown An open letter to Lord Green et al

Richard Murphy Should the Church of England really be taking a lead from Lord Stephen Green?

Rachel Mann ‘These are not the leaders you’re looking for’ - talent pools, management & the C of E

Michael Sadgrove The Next Generation of Church Leaders: thoughts on the Green Report


“Archbishop Cranmer” Church of England to spend £2m on “new approach” to leadership

Ian Paul Should bishops come from a ‘talent pool’?

Ruth Gledhill Can business training solve CofE’s ‘toxic’ leadership problem?

“Archdruid Eileen” Infecting the Church with Mangerialism

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 8:32am GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England

As a former Diocesan Secretary of some 25 years experience who introduced daily prayers into Office life and encouraged staff and visitors to join in when possible, I agree very much with the thrust of Michael Sadgrove's comments and reference to priorities. We are here to worship God and Bishops are here to teach and help us in this. That is their priority, not management.

Posted by: Malcolm on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 9:08am GMT

As a Quaker, I have sympathy with both sides. Our hierarchy is even flatter than yours. Formally and spiritually, we don't have one at all. Instead of a CEO we have a Recording Clerk. Servant ministry is at the heart of what we do. BUT, someone has to be the treasurer, the architect, the marriage registrar, the QS, in charge of CRB (or what's-it-called now), the meeting clerk... and we can't usually afford to pay for these essential services. These are jobs that take dedication and skill. The organization has to find the right people for them.

Posted by: Iain McLean on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 10:35am GMT

I blame the allegedly benign Common Purpose. The C of E is now shot thgrough with its "graduates"...super leaders on the go ..

Posted by: Bruce Bridgewood on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 10:46am GMT

I assume Bruce that this is what you are referring to. And I note the Bishop of Leicester is chair of the trustees...

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 11:18am GMT

The hierarchy of the Church of England would do well to pay close attention to the wise words of the Dean of Durham for fear that we lose sight of our primary purpose. As Team Rector of a large Team Ministry employing a dozen or so people and many more unpaid volunteers I feel, at time, more like a Managing Director than a parish priest. How perceptive Dean Sadgrove is in reminding us that as bishops, deans and incumbents we are head of a religious foundation and not a business organisation.

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 11:31am GMT

I was horrified at the suggestion of the proposed 'officers/managers training school. No sign of allowing the work of the Holy Spirit in leading and calling priests to the office of Bishop. Deans appear to be cast in the role of Management. I know some deans/provosts see this as their role. But try telling that to many Godly Deans such as Salisbury and Glasgow.
As Jesus threw the moneychangers out of the temple, so should this report be cast out into utter darkness.

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 3:57pm GMT

Not only is the church infected by this madness: even small charities sport a CEO and a business model and are little more than quangos mostly funded by government to whose tune they must therefore dance. Perhaps this should be a lesson to the CofE as it looks to (unholy) parliament to endorse its synodical decisions - and many of its ministers appear to regard 'bishop' as the top role in the organisation's career structure.

Posted by: Jill Armstead on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 6:13pm GMT

If big churches and cathedrals need managers then these should be qualified lay people. Bishops and priests should lead their flock and search out the lost and inspire people to see the beauty of the Gospel through ministering to and evangelising the poor and marginalised. Their leadership should be by trusting in God and the Holy Spirit discerned through regular prayer.

Posted by: Clairejxx on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 6:46pm GMT

Command and control management models are fascinating, but I can't help wondering - when applied to the C of E - who is going to be commanded and controlled? Parochial clergy? Parishioners?

Posted by: RevChris on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 9:35pm GMT

You know I really do not see the objection to a business course for clergy. I don't know how it is in the UK, but on this side of the pond, the rector is usually legally responsible for the fiscal management of the parish. (He may delegate this function to the rector's warden or financial warden--or both--but legally, he's the one who will face charges in case of mismanagement.)

Therefore, it makes sense for a priest to have some sense of how to manage a business.

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 9:40pm GMT

I've just watched the programme on Canterbury Cathedral and I'm left wondering if it is the right use of his priestly ministry for the Canon Treasurer to spend so much of his time raising funds for the repair and restoration of the cathedral? Congratulations on Canterbury's success in being given a grant for £12,000,000 but couldn't such a task be siphoned off to a suitably qualified lay person, thus freeing the multi-talented Canon Treasurer to concentrate more upon evangelism, (he's a first rate preacher) mission and ministry?

Posted by: Father David on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 11:00pm GMT

This old chestnut has something to say to the Green Report.

The Twelve Disciples: Were they management potential?
Posted on October 3, 2008
4 Votes

This isn’t mine but the last reference to it was in 2004 so I thought I would put it up. I got it from “Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time” by Greg Ogden – printed in SoJo Mail for 30 October 2003.

Dear Sir:

Thank you for submitting the resumes of the 12 men you have picked for management positions in your new organization. All of them have now taken our battery of tests; we have not only run the results through our computer, but also arranged personal interviews for each of them with our psychologist and vocational aptitude consultant.

It is the staff opinion that most of your nominees are lackin in background, education, and vocational aptitude for the type of enterprise you are undertaking. They do not have the team concept. We would recommend that you continue your search for persons of experience in managerial ability and proven capability.
Simon Peter is emotionally unstable and given to fits of temper. Andrew has absolutely no qualities of leadership. The two brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, place personal interest above company loyalty. Thomas demonstrates a questioning attitude that would tend to undermine morale.

We feel that it is our duty to tell you that Matthew has been blacklisted by the Greater Jerusalem Better Business Bureau. James, the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus definitely have radical leanings, and they both registered a high score on the manic depressive scale.

One of the candidates, however, shows great potential. He is a man of ability and resourcefulness, meets people well, has a keen business mind and has contacts in high places. He is highly motivated, ambitious, and responsible. We recommend Judas Iscariot as your controller and right-hand man. All of the other profiles are self-explanatory.

We wish you every success in your new venture.

Sincerely yours,
Jordan Management Consultants

Posted by: Richard Fleming on Monday, 15 December 2014 at 11:13pm GMT

In response to the C.T. editorial:
” It is probably notable that, while the word “leader” occurs 171 times in the report, the word “pastor” or “pastoral” does not appear once.”

And herein, in my opinion, lies the basic flaw in this scheme to subject 150 ‘whizz-kids’ among the ranks of the clergy of the Church of England, to undertake a management style of training for future leadership in the Church.

What sort of leaders will they turn out to be? A like-minded set of bureaucrats, whose business management acumen exceeds that of their pastoral capability? Will the scheme produce an elite crop of MBAs (Comm.Theol), but with little or no understanding of the faith content of the mission of the Church?

My immediate question is this; Does the Church need business management graduates to actually be ordained to the priesthood or the episcopate, in order to provide logistical management of the Church’s assets – whether they be finance, property or even staff-related? Surely the Church, amongst its faithful laity, already contains people of the necessary strategic, business, financial and personnel-management skills? Or, if not – in particular places – perhaps this training could be given to non-ministerial diocesan staff.

My real point here is that I believe clergy are called into a specific ministry of pastoral and missional service. As the Church Times editorial suggests; bishops and other leaders in the Church need to be more open to consultation with those among the laity who are better experienced in such matters. It will be a sorry situation when clergy leadership consists more in management expertise than in pastoral care and the mission of the Gospel of Christ.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 8:17am GMT

Fr David is quite right. I didn't see the programme about Canterbury but there is a culture in the Church which seems to unable to distinguish between the roles of lay people and clergy. It is much more likely that a lay person will have the sort of organisational powers and experience for major fundraising while the clergy do what they should be able to do best. The 'father knows best' which means 'father should do everything' is surely one of the curses if the Church.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 8:58am GMT

I am beginning to think that Justin Welby spent too much time in the Oil Industry and not enough time on his knees.

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 9:55am GMT

It is jaw-dropping that the advert for 'Talent Development Manager' does not contain a Genuine Occupational Requirement that the person be a Christian.

Posted by: Chris Green on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 12:19pm GMT

The Canon Treasurer does run what was once called POT Fr David. Canterbury diocese IME 4 to7 is considerably more demanding than in my curacy days..

Posted by: Perry Butler on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 1:08pm GMT

Is the CofE facing reality with regard business management and starting looking at Parishes as if they were Tesco? If a store doesn't pay then its closed down. Are they going to look at churches in the same way? We all know the vast majority of churches struggle to keep their heads above water. Over the next 10 years this will only get worse with falling congregations. Just looking round my church on a Sunday morning at the number of older people 70+, I think that in 10 years we will be down by nearly 50%, and I can't see them being replaced. But long before that we won't be viable and will struggle to pay just the upkeep, never mind the parish share. The RC's have closed a number of churches for this reason. The trouble is we love our own churches, and won't face the truth. Do we bite the bullet now and consolidate 2 or 3 churches into one, which would then be on a stronger financial footing, and have a priest with only one church to think about thus giving them more time for outreach? Problem is could the CofE afford to look after mothballed churches? Food for thought.

Posted by: Henry Dee on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 1:47pm GMT

Judging by the robust defence Pete Broadbent is throwing up one must conclude that the sort of reactions posted here were anticipated.

I thought the reference to the Cundy/Welby essay Dr Edward Prebble mentions on the earlier thread was significant. It deserves careful thought and discussion.

My own view is we need to act immediately.
The age profile Is alarming.
This course should be a must for leaders, especially archdeacons, to help give an impression of improvement, a short term remedy, I know ...

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 3:06pm GMT

Perry I'm sure that Canterbury's Canon Treasurer works extremely hard, the cathedral is fortunate to have plucked such a talented priest from Eaton Square. I certainly hope that POT is more rigorous and demanding than it was in the days when I did my potty training.
As for the alarming age profile of the clergy - well, we only have ourselves to blame. I was fortunate enough to have been ordained aged 25. In the not too distant past potential young ordinands were told to go away and see something of the "real world" prior to offering themselves for ordination. Well, if I haven't seen something of the so called "real world" during 37 years of parochial ministry (man and boy) then I cannot imagine what the ""real world" must be like!

Posted by: Father David on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 3:41pm GMT

Official comment from Bishop of Ely on CofE website.

Posted by: paul richardson on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 3:51pm GMT

I'll return to my usual refrain here: by not introducing episcopal elections, this is treating the symptom while ignoring the disease.

Save the two million, and table legislation in General Synod to elect all bishops. How about it, any members of Synod?

Posted by: James Byron on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 10:27pm GMT

Electing bishops is no panacea and in any case this is not what the Green Report is about. For elections to work you need extensive preparation by a committee of those who are to be candidates and detailed information to enable electors to know who they are voting for. There is no evidence that the result is better appointments. Armchair commentators would also do well to read Senior Church Leadership: a resource for reflection (FAOC (2014) 15A) alongside Green. This provides extensive commentary on what leadership is, what the Bible says about leadership and key reminders that the Triune God must remain at the centre of all our ideas and practices of leadership. Green (which is not short on theology - although you have to read it to know that) deals with how bishops exercise leadership and what leaders today need to do to achieve spiritual and numerical growth in their dioceses. It concludes that today's leaders and tomorrow's need to adopt practices from the secular world in parallel with the special needs of a faith-based organisation. It does not make comfortable reading for the House of Bishops who have, nonetheless, adopted it at their meeting last week. And please let's not get carried away with the notion that the £2 million is some kind of fat cat project. It amounts to £33,333 per Diocese per annum, a drop in the bucket given that most dioceses are currently spending almost nothing on talent development despite being encouraged to do so by the first Pilling Report, Talent and Calling, some years ago. It amounts to a wake-up call which might be why many are challenging it.

Posted by: Anthony Archer on Tuesday, 16 December 2014 at 11:30pm GMT

" It amounts to a wake-up call which might be why many are challenging it."

I got the impression that many have already provided very sound questions about the process. Martin Percy does not seem to be challenging the idea that change is needed but asks serious questions about that change.

Andrew Lightbown has asked very serious questions from the point of view of a former corporate expert.

It really would help if supporters could engage with those questions rather than simply try to discredit all objectors.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 8:57am GMT

As one educated in an American seminary environment, I can say that many of us wanted some basic education in management. While it's not the core of the call, I learned long ago that management done poorly inhibits mission.

At the same time, as one heavily imbued from long practice in institutional settings, it is important that we be sure first of the preparation of persons for ministry broadly. I work in healthcare with wonderful and compassionate persons who are managers and administrators (MBA's and the equivalent). Each and every one has been committed to his or her institution providing the best possible healthcare, and also surviving in the competitive environment that is healthcare provision in the United States. And sometimes - only sometimes - there has been a hitch. As with the proverb that if one's only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail, so if one's only tool is numerical analysis, every problem looks like a set of numbers to be reconciled. Almost all those administrators have been willing to learn about the consequences for persons of their numerical analyses, but it was eye-opening. So, we need to be sure those who work in numerical analysis within the Church are conscious of the real effects on real persons.

Posted by: Marshall Scott on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 4:47pm GMT

The more I ponder this, and think what such 'talent training' meant in my pre-ordination life and what it might mean for those involved in the church, I find it difficult to see how an 'ordinary' parish priest could ever find the time, or the cover, to be talent-trained. I wonder if it will be back to the old system of picking people early and 'drecting' them to certain curacies and certain jobs where such cover is possible. I can't imagine the single-handed urban vicar with three churches will have much chance, but I can imagine that s/he will be glad of that.

Posted by: Fr William on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 at 9:28pm GMT

No one says that it's a panacea, Anthony Archer, but it would eliminate (or drastically cut) selection bias, give bishops a mandate, and make dioceses responsible for their choices. In short, it'd end the suffocating paternalism, and make everyone grow up.

Of course, the Church of England may be right, and every other Anglican province wrong, but its current episcopal woes hardly point towards that conclusion, do they?

Posted by: James Byron on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 12:16am GMT
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