Thinking Anglicans

Living Ministry report published

The second set of findings from a 10-year research programme into how clergy can flourish in ministry has been published today by the Church of England. Research from the Living Ministry project into the wellbeing of 85 ordinands and clergy is featured in the study Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of Ordinands and Clergy in the Church of England. This qualitative study builds on quantitative findings based on responses from 761 clergy and ordinands published by the Living Ministry programme last year.

The accompanying press release is copied below the fold, and the report is available for download here.

Adam Becket has written about the report for Church TimesChange is worse than a rest, say stressed clergy.

Clergy struggle to cope with change, a new report on their well-being has said.

Published today, the report, Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of ordinands and clergy in the Church of England, says that periods of transition, for example coming to the end of a curacy, can cause physical and mental stress, and prompt clergy to question their vocation…

Press release

Living Ministry report published

18/10/2018

The second set of findings from a 10-year research programme into how clergy can flourish in ministry is published today by the Church of England. Research from the Living Ministry project into the wellbeing of 85 ordinands and clergy is featured in the study Negotiating Wellbeing: Experiences of Ordinands and Clergy in the Church of England.

The qualitative study builds on quantitative findings based on responses from 761 clergy and ordinands published by the Living Ministry programme last year, Mapping the Wellbeing of Church of England Clergy and Ordinands.

Writing in the foreword to the report published today, Bishop Martin Seeley, Chair of the Church of England’s Ministry Council, said: “The Church of England’s Living Ministry research represents an investment by the Archbishops’ Council into understanding the experiences of those in ordained ministry.

“Its unique approach, mixing quantitative and qualitative methods to follow cohorts of clergy through their ministry over a decade, provides profound and rigorously documented insight into the struggles and joys of clerical life.

“It will form an invaluable resource to those in dioceses and theological education institutions who have responsibility for the formation, training, support and care of ordinands and clergy.”

Dr Liz Graveling, who is overseeing the research programme in the Ministry Division, said: “This is a significant piece of research and a measure of how seriously the Church of England takes the wellbeing of clergy and ordinands and their flourishing in ministry. This is a decade long project and we will be returning to the clergy and ordinands involved to see how their experiences evolve over the coming years.”

The report published today can be found here.

Notes for editors

The Living Ministry research project is being conducted between 2016 and 2026 and is following groups of clergy ordained in 2006, 2011 and 2015 and women and men who entered training for ordination in 2016. The project is looking at how clergy can flourish in ministry. The report published today examines clergy well-being.

The findings of the project are being used to inform the Church of England’s Renewal and Reform programme aimed at building a growing church for all people and in all places.

The Living Ministry report comes after a draft Covenant for Clergy Care and Well-being was published earlier this month for consultation and comment.

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Charles Clapham
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I’ve only just scanned through the document, so may have missed things, but I was surprised that although the issue of home ownership was raised at points, there was no mention of a specific difficulty faced by clergy (including me) when it comes to trying to buy a house as part of their retirement planning: namely, that it is extremely difficult on a stipend to save enough for a buy-to-let mortgage (mortgage lenders will typically require at least 25% deposit), but the alternative of purchasing a house on an ordinary first-time buyer’s mortgage means that it can’t legally be rented… Read more »

Father David
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Father David

I’d agree with Charles. After over 40 years in the ordained Ministry my stipend is roughly equivalent to what a first year NQT would receive in school. In my day it was called a Probationary Teacher. This makes things rather difficult to save enough funds in order to buy a retirement home. As thoughts of retirement loom ever closer on the horizon – this is a cause of concern not only for myself but for, or so I suspect, a vast number of clergy who are nearing retirement age. We have long been told that 40% of stipendiary clergy will… Read more »

David Rowett
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David Rowett

It’s not a bad income, I reckon, though the pension situation has deteriorated significantly over the years: part of the problem is that there’s no uniformity to the clergy situation – at one end of the spectrum there are still a few single-income clergy (either single or with ‘traditional non-working spouse’) many of whom were required to sell any property they had on commencing training (often to subsidise their training costs), and at the other later entrants to the ministry who already have a house (perhaps rented out), and a working partner who may earn a higher salary than they.… Read more »

David Walker
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David Walker

Hi David.

I wonder whether the pre-retirement course didn’t explain things to your colleague very well. Or it may just be that perception is not always the same as reality. Especially when the facts don’t fit with the narrative one wants to believe.

Far from being a “nice little earner”, the CHARM scheme (which is Pensions Board not Commissioners) requires an annual input of around £5million (Vote 5 of the AC budget) to cover the subsidy of rents. These figures are publicly available, and took me less than a minute to access.

David Rowett
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David Rowett

Thanks for that correction – always useful to dispose of false rumours as quickly as possible:-)

Kate
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Kate

Doesn’t that reflect the secular world? In our capitalist society, households with one income struggle to compete for things like housing against two-income households. Rather than wrestling with the issue for clergy, maybe the Church should have a broad social policy to highlight the issues facing single-income households and try to identify social and fiscal policies to help them?

Tim Chesterton
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I know there are difficulties with any change, but I’ll be forever grateful that I moved to the Diocese of Edmonton (Canada) in 2000, where rectories had been done away with and clergy put on salaries so that we could provide our own accommodation. I now own a small house that’s paid for. One worry off my mind when I retire in about five years.

David Rowett
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David Rowett

At the very least it’d be an incentive for more clergy in England to consider unfashionable, provincial dioceses beyond the south-eastern corner – they could afford much better houses in Whitehaven or Mablethorpe than they could in Woking or Maidstone :-))

David Emmott
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David Emmott

But they wouldn’t be able to afford a house (or even a dog kennel) in unfashionable tough inner-city parishes in London for example. And in other cities the temptation would be to live in anonymous suburbia rather than in the midst of their own parish. There are many reasons, sadly, why some priests need to live outside their parishes, but the priest on call (unlike most other professionals) within a community has been one of the strengths of Anglican parish ministry.

David Walker
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David Walker

It’s good to hear clergy retirement housing being discussed. Offering suitable Housing options for retired stipendiary C of E clergy (and their surviving partners) has long been part of the work of the Pensions Board. A major survey took place a few years ago, to assess the levels and types of need among all those expected to retire in the following 15 years. There was a very high response rate, indicating that around 30% of retiring stipendiary clergy will continue to require some level of support. There are three main options provided. A shared ownership scheme to help those who… Read more »