Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 15 May 2021

Abigail Frymann Rouch Church Times Could interim ministry be the answer in tough times for the Church?

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Church. Does it really serve Emerging Adults?

Tina Beardsley Unadulterated Love So-called conversion therapy, gender identity, and the dangers of coercion and consultation

ViaMedia.News Yve’s Story – “I Felt Set Up To Fail”
by Yve, who has experienced both the very worst and the very best of the Church of England

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Kate
Kate
1 month ago

Readers may also be interested in a piece linked to by Tina Beardsley
 
https://clareflourish.wordpress.com/2021/05/11/british-government-to-ban-conversion-therapy/
 
It is easily missed because hyperlinks in Tina’s piece aren’t obvious.

Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

Interesting article about interim ministry. In our diocese (Edmonton in western Canada) it’s almost universal; the search for a new rector might take a few months, so the bishop will appoint an interim priest to care for the parish during the transition. It seems like our model is a little different from what’s being described in the article, though. It’s not normally about fixing broken situatiuons or developing a new vision etc.; it’s just a way of making sure that essential pastoral and liturgical tasks are taken care of until a new rector is appointed. Most of our interims are… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

I suggested this for a parish in the Diocese in Europe and was surprised the concept was not known. My sense was that there is just a lot of shortage, and if there are problems and clergy leave, congregations either settle for a long period of using locums; or hope to get a new cleric and the underlying issues to go away. It doesn’t work. So I was pleased to learn that the concept is now being tried out. It is very typical in TEC, indeed, almost standard practice.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  C R SEITZ
1 month ago

In fact, in the two dioceses where I have been involved with interims (purely as a parishioner) — New York and Pennsylvania–interim priests are specifically trained to assist in the process of calling a new rector.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Pat ONeill
1 month ago

Yes, it’s standard practice throughout the dioceses of TEC. For many clergy, it is its own vocation, with proper training in place. It is a great way for the parish to do self-study and prepare for a new season.

Alison Baker
Alison Baker
Reply to  C R SEITZ
30 days ago

I’m not sure where, in the Diocese in Europe, you encountered surprise about interim ministry because it has been widespread here in France for some time. We had a particularly effective archdeacon here until recently who deployed pastorally experienced clergy to situations where there was either malaise or dysfunction. There is an effective example in one of the chaplaincies just outside Paris at the moment. I also know a recently retired bishop was deployed in one of the coastal chaplaincies over the past few years where a small, but vocal, group of people were being disruptive. But then, we all… Read more »

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Alison Baker
29 days ago

The one outside Paris I am aware of is the one where I strongly urged this several years ago. I was interviewed by a new team of wardens who asked whether this concept would be a good one. I urged them to move forward in this way.

So that is where I encountered it.

And, there is a difference between sending a locum to a parish and having a formal interim charged as such, with doing self-study and helping the parish move forward at an important period.

Alison Baker
Alison Baker
Reply to  C R SEITZ
27 days ago

Who said anything about ‘locums’? In all the cases I know in France, the period of interim ministry was exactly that: for at least twelve months and, in some cases, longer. In one case (on the South coast) it helped to pave the way for an excellent permanent appointment.

C R SEITZ
C R SEITZ
Reply to  Alison Baker
27 days ago

Dear Ms Baker

You apparently have a different view of both the character and vocation of interim ministry (the subject of the CT essay) and the specific circumstances in parishes to which I refer, in the preceding decade. The practice of having long strings of locums is by no means unusual. One can see this in many places in France, understandably, given the number of churches being served and the paucity of full-time clergy. The entire point of the CT essay had to do with trying out a new model.

peter kettle
peter kettle
Reply to  Tim Chesterton
1 month ago

That’s interesting. I helped out in an interregnum for two and a half years, totally informally, before a new appointment was made. The same parish is in an interregnum now and no provision has been made for ongoing ministerial, pastoral or missional support; it’s now 15 months on and no news of an appointment. Churchwardens are carrying on valiantly, but the loss of basic provision is appalling. But it seems to be the norm, even in parishes such as this one where there is no priestly or other ministerial assistance.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  peter kettle
1 month ago

Peter, in my previous dioceses that would have been the case, since they were in isolated northern parts of Canada with very few retired clergy available (and that means, hundreds of miles from major cities!). In those dioceses lay readers would have led services with perhaps a monthly visit from a neighbouring priest if one was available. But Edmonton is a major city so we have lots of retired clergy here who still want to be active.

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