Comments: clergy life in the CofE today

I read all four - excellent! And spot on!
Just got a call from the bishop. He's supposed to make his annual visitation to the parish tomorrow. For the first time in eleven years he is sick - unable to move kind of sick. Improving, but no guarantee he will be there.
For the first time, I had decided this week not to even look at the lections because I wasn't going to have to preach.
Oops! Quick, where's that lectionary? There goes that day off. Bye for now.
Lois Keen

Posted by Lois Keen at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 7:51pm GMT

I am working my way through these.
A very good idea and much needed. The one on clergy stress and the need for (and yet lack of )boundaries is spot. Because it speaks from experience it should many clergy and laity to understand the issue and the highly problematic nature of boundaries in parishes. (Unlike a f/t hopital or other chaplaincy -unless living inthe hosptial,s school or prison grounds).

The comments are valuable to, and one speaks of CPE -- Clinical Pastoral Education and this is an important and yet neglected key to stress, boundaries and a find a modu opandi that avoids burn out.

That's me for now, but I may well comment again. This is so vital for us all whether ordained or not.

Posted by laurence at Saturday, 3 February 2007 at 10:10pm GMT

Well I knocked on the door and then said to myself, "Oh sh** it's Friday" even though it was an informal activity. Because the boundaries are always blurred, even if it is something friendly I prefer to think ahead and keep clear. I did wave from the car yesterday, Friday, but wasn't seen. Yet that always also-work relationship (always a distance, never quite friends simply) must make for some clergy loneliness. They need other people out of the loops. Incidentally, when working I have almost never socialised afterwards because it always feels like an extension of work.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 12:34am GMT

One of my roommates long ago in Boston while I did school there was a graduate student at Boston U. He wrote a master's thesis on the inevitable decline of the local congregation, owing to the inevitable changes in our local communities and in how we adapt to live every day. His tutors responded, more or less, Yes but it doesn't need to happen, because we can find ways to revitalize and reconnect the basic parish structures/processes.

These posts reawaken my deeper sense, to the effect that again I am wondering if the shapes church takes need to become fluid, variable, and entirely apt to changing people, situations, regular or crisis. All the way from where two or three are gathered, to where a hundred or a thousand are gathered. ... to?

Posted by drdanfee at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 3:05am GMT

These are interesting papers: so much depends on whether the parish itself understands and respects the boundaries. In my last place, the congregation were good, but the Church Hall was let to all manner of people who assumed that I was caretaker and hammered on the door at all times of the day and night (eg) to arbitrate in a dispute over tables at 7pm on New Year's Eve; to open the door at 08.00 on my day off for someone who living a hundred metres away had forgotten her key 'and it's raining so I don't want to go back over home'....

But Pluralist makes a good point on the other side about isolation. Again in my last place, very few people 'just called by' except when they were in some sort of need, which meant that the only time the doorbell rang you were wanted for what you DID rather than for yourself. In my present parish, the blurred boundaries are respected by folk, who avoid business wherever possible at unsocial hours and seem able to discern whether their presence is conducive to relaxation and enjoyment or not.

Multiple benefices are a different matter - I acquire three tiny parishes in a few months, and they have already been informed that they have five hours a week total, and to prioritise their use of me accordingly. It will be interesting to see whether their present perceived priorities last more than a few months.

Sorry about Friday, Adrian - Mr Myopia here never spots ANYONE when he's walking about, not unless they lob a brick at him first.

Posted by mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 4:49pm GMT

I used to have a brick made out of sponge. A wave but not to jump and oy... And try to respect those curious boundaries. It is what a sociologist might call a role ambiguity, the difference between friendship and working, and it creates a confusion which, in the case of the parish priest walking around, cannot be ironed out. But, have a laugh why not.

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 4 February 2007 at 5:17pm GMT
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