Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 27 June 2020

Marcus Walker The Critic Bishops’ different hymnsheet
The Church of England has worked to broaden its diversity of background, but its diversity of opinion has declined

Malcolm Chamberlain ViaMedia.News We Can’t Go Back…To Looking After No 1!

Stephen Parsons Surviving Church The Church and failures of corporate memory

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
17 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
8 days ago

I’m very grateful for Fr Marcus Walker’s observation that what people think and how they behave is of far greater import than their outward appearance. Not only does it bring to mind 1 Samuel 16.7 but also a rather well known theologian who once presented his dream ‘that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.’

Froghole
Froghole
8 days ago

I am struggling to agree with much of what Marcus Walker writes, but we have seen some striking evidence in recent weeks of the extent to which the Church has failed to encourage diversity with respect to BAME representation amongst the clergy, and especially the higher clergy.   However, I am at one with him in noting the tendency to groupthink amongst many clergy (though it might be argued that a certain level of groupthink is a natural component of any religion). What I found particularly disappointing about the clerical response to the Brexit question was not so much clerical… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
6 days ago
Reply to  Froghole

‘If clergy are in receipt of modest stipends, live in modest homes’
 
£25k plus a 4 bedroom house and non contributory pension is not modest! The overall package puts Anglican clergy in the top 10% of incomes, perhaps top 5% in London and the South East.
 

Froghole
Froghole
6 days ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

Many thanks! In the south east, average pay is (or was) £35,979 in 2018/19, whilst median pay for the same region is/was £30,628. That means the NMS in less expensive regions will be proportionately better. Arguably, the free accommodation and non-contrib final salary DB pension makes the NMS quite a bit better in real terms than most local average/median earnings where pension entitlements will almost always be DC or, if DB, contributory.   I should have inserted the adverb ‘relatively’. A parson living in Herts, Bucks or Surrey will probably measure him/herself by the standards of other ‘professionals’, fellow school… Read more »

Kate
Kate
6 days ago
Reply to  Froghole

Interesting that you suggest comparison with other professionals will lead to a feeling of being hard done by.

Suppose we take the professional comparison as a nurse, another caring profession with long hours. See https://www.indeed.co.uk/cmp/Nhs/salaries?job_category=mednurse

That suggests nurses are on £26k – £27k..No house. Certainly not a non-contributory DB pension scheme. It seems to me that your hypothetical parson is very generously rewarded.

Froghole
Froghole
5 days ago
Reply to  Kate

Kate: I agree with you! However, it is one of the ironies of contemporary clerical life that, even as certain clergy spurn much of the old historical baggage, they remain wedded to the notion that being a parson is a genteel profession, at least in economic terms, and that they have a right to a certain level of financial entitlement and security.   All the while they will enjoin their (mostly middle class) congregations to show solidarity with people who may be less fortunate. Yet if clerical entitlements are themselves challenged, the reaction can sometimes be vigorous and defensive. ‘Do… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
6 days ago
Reply to  Froghole

I find it rather endearing that you hope the truth is likely to be found in the gap between the liberal centrists and the illiberal right. Where did you manage to find a paper of the left?

Froghole
Froghole
5 days ago
Reply to  Jo B

Ah, I see what you mean! Well, in many respects, the Guardian is a conservative paper that is suspicious of attempts, whether by the radical Left or the radical Right, to overthrow the post-1989 ‘consensus’. There is presently much praise for Starmer (although they are being careful not to over-praise him lest they offend their Corbynite readership). Yet Starmer is, to a significant degree, a Blair re-run. In that and other senses, the Guardian is a paper of the liberal centre which masquerades as an organ of the Left.   Indeed, I find all British national newspapers disingenuous and dishonest,… Read more »

Fr Andrew Welsby
Fr Andrew Welsby
5 days ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

I am heartily sick of all this ‘stipendiary clergy living in clover’ rhetoric. Yes, I receive a stipend c£25K, and live in a 4 bedroom house that costs me about 15% of my net income to heat and light (putting me and many others into the official ‘fuel poverty’ bracket). But, I am approaching my 60th birthday, and will soon have to think about accomodation in retirement. I come from an ordinary background and have no expectation of any inheritance coming my way to assist. I am single and there is no second income in this household. In the meantime,… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
5 days ago

Fr. Andrew: I have propagated the notion that stipendiaries are doing *comparatively* well, for which I apologise. Whilst I have significant misgivings about the value added of all stipendiaries, this is because of the extreme and increasing attenuation of resources and because the quality of some stipendiaries (in my own experience) is highly uneven. A good stipendiary is, of course, worth his/her weight in platinum.   The reason why I pushed this admittedly noxious argument as I did is that I had formed the view that the virus, and the associated shift to virtual church, has often been used to… Read more »

Sam Jones
Sam Jones
4 days ago

Fr Andrew, I didn’t say that you were living in clover, but that your overall package of c.£50k p.a. compares well to a senior teacher or social worker. Of course the low stipend is a problem for those without property of their own.

Jo B
Jo B
3 days ago
Reply to  Sam Jones

The difficulty is that attempts at putting a value on the “package” is hard because no senior teacher or social worker would choose to continue renting a large, poorly maintained house when they could get a mortgage (even on a smaller house) and have somewhere to live upon retirement. I also suspect that, if you’re going to compare the “package” then teachers’ pensions, even with increases in employee contributions and downgrading of benefits, take the value of their (my, as I’m a teacher) total remuneration substantially higher. I certainly anticipate a pension rather higher than Fr Andrew’s 8k when I… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
3 days ago
Reply to  Jo B

Jo B:   The question is how many years’ accruals there have been in this case.   The maximum the CEFPS lays out is two thirds of the NMS (the NMS is £24,770, therefore £16,513) for those who retired before 1 January 2008, having completed 37 years’ service (i.e., who were ordained at the age of 33 at the latest). For accruals after 1 January 2011 it will usually be about half of the NMS (i.e. £12,385) for those who complete 41 years’ service, though of course a large proportion of clergy will have a mixture of pre-2008 and post-2011… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
8 days ago

Not only a different hymn sheet, Dr Walker, but also, according to the Rector of Stepney on social media, a handsome pay rise from the Commissioners. What timing! What a smack in the teeth for parish clergy!
 

Last edited 8 days ago by Stanley Monkhouse
Kate
Kate
7 days ago

Stephen Hawking was perhaps the most influential British scientist of our generation. Can anyone envisage someone as disabled as Stephen being appointed bishop? Nelson Mandela was perhaps the most important statesman of our generation. Can anyone envisage someone who had been in prison as long as Mandela being appointed bishop? I am not a fan of Stephen Whittle but there is no doubt he had an enormous impact on securing rights for trans people. (Rights which are now under threat.) Can anyone evisage someone so out about their gender history being appointed bishop? Greta Thurnberg has had an enormous impact… Read more »

Evan McWilliams
Evan McWilliams
7 days ago
Reply to  Kate

There’s no question that it would be marvellous to see a greater diversity of background and life experience represented on the episcopal bench but I’d want to be very careful not to make assumptions about diversity of thought or belief based on appearance or membership of any ‘community’. Malcolm X and W.E.B. DU Bois were both black men, roughly contemporaries, and important civil rights leaders but their philosophies differed significantly. One could say the same of Thomas Jefferson and John Adams who, again as contemporaries from the ‘gentlemanly’ classes, and men of substantial education ran as opponents in the 1800… Read more »

Jo B
Jo B
7 days ago
Reply to  Kate

We did have the pleasure of Michael Nazir-Ali’s tenure as Bishop of Rochester, who is of Pakistani heritage. Happy to pander to the Daily Mail too, which presumably kept Marcus Walker happy.

17
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x