Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 5 March 2022

Inclusive Church launched its booklet Something Worth Sharing on Disability and Church at General Synod last month. Here are the speeches from the launch.
Fiona Macmillan Perfectly and wonderfully made
Emily Richardson Pandemic Learnings
Tim Goode Dignity and Fullness of Life

Colin Coward Unadulterated Love Poll shows CofE majority support equal marriage for LGBTQIA+ people

Janet Fife Surviving Church The Outsider. A Great Man of Faith and the Two Women in his Life

Angela Tilby Church Times Bishops’ unanimity is shameful

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Kate
Kate
2 months ago

Below Angela Tilby’s letter when I followed the link, the Diocese of Bristol was advertising 3 positions, each on a salary of £50-55,000.
 
+ Director of Property
+ Director of Transformation
+ Director of External Relations
 
Sort of makes her point. I can see why presbyters feel undervalued.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

Don’t forget to add NI and employer’s pension costs, and expenses, and you’re asking ordinary parishioners to pay something like £250,000 per annum for these people. Property is clearly an important job, but the other two?

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Toby Forward
2 months ago

Every diocese is recruiting ever more directors of this and advisors for that. The wonder is that diocesan synods keep voting through the budgets that make such recruitment possible.

Charles Read
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

Every diocese? We have shrunk the diocesan staff by 10%. That’s real people made redundant by the way…

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Charles Read
2 months ago

The Church Times seems to be full of advertisements for posts with improbable job titles, and my own diocese has recruited a ‘director of new worshipping communities’ and a ‘director of healthy churches’ in recent months, as well as an assortment of administrative assistants to such people. And all of this at a time when the C of E nationally is making clergy (they’re also real people, by the way) redundant. The real question here is where limited funds are best spent, and I struggle to see how ever more chiefs organising a shrinking band of indians can possibly achieve… Read more »

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

Fr Dexter – I’m not surprised about ‘director of new worshipping communities’ It coincides with the bishop’s aim of establishing 150 shiny new mission hubs by 2030. I think he has an obsession / interest in taking the Church back to the pure first century model where people met and broke bread in each other’s homes and there was phenomenal growth. I can’t see that happening in the 2020s.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Michael H
2 months ago

To be fair, it’s not the bishop who has that obsession, it’s the Archdeacon Missioner, who seems to dominate the life of the diocese and has overseen the appointment of all these extra central staff.

Michael H
Michael H
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

Yes Fr Dexter, the Archdeacon Missioner – that job title was invented by the bishop. Until about ten or so years ago, the two Archdeacons were of Coventry and Warwick respectively. The bishop changed it to Archdeacon Missioner and Archdeacon Pastor which in my opinion has less meaning.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Michael H
2 months ago

Hopefully, Froghole can tell us more. I was under the impression phenomenal growth occurred mainly in the very early stage when the Christians met daily in the temple Courts; and then later in the third century when church buildings began to be constructed.

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Charles Read
2 months ago

It might be the case in your diocese, of course, but shrinking staff doesn’t necessarily need redundancies. Retirement and moving on is always an opportunity not to re-appoint.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Fr Dexter Bracey
2 months ago

A former parishioner who had retired as a captain of industry pointed out to me that if a business is struggling the first thing it does is to get rid of a tranche of middle managers; the CofE does the opposite and appoints even more – associate archdeacon transition enablers in the Sheffield diocese for example.

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Fr Dean
2 months ago

The problem is that the House of Bishops is still in denial. They believe that initiatives and projects can halt or reverse decline – and spend according.

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Toby Forward
2 months ago

You’re forgetting that a Director will expect a PA!

Toby Forward
Toby Forward
Reply to  Fr Dean
2 months ago

Sorry. You’re right, of course.

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

Time for Diocesan Synods to get tough and vote down budgets that place unnecessary financial burdens on the parishes. It’s possible that a director of transformation job might be funded by the Church Commissioners’ strategic development fund. But isn’t it time those who are paying get more of a say about the staffing of the offices that serve their mission and ministry,

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

“But isn’t it time those who are paying get more of a say about the staffing of the offices that serve their mission and ministry,”
 
These days I only give ‘in kind’ to charities – including the Church. Far, far too many get fat off money donations.

Bruce Deans
Bruce Deans
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

Brilliant plan!

Let them eat cake!

God 'elp us all
God 'elp us all
Reply to  Bruce Deans
2 months ago

Loving that ‘after church’ on the bean bag or chaise longue imagery Bruce. Better a cake (non-dairy, low sugar) than a stone.
Many readers will be familiar with the boat race; if not –
http://www.anvari.org/shortjoke/Funny_Jokes/21216_corporate-rowing-the-americans-and-the-japanese-decided-to-engage-in-a-boat-race.html
Neither a joke nor a piece of cake.
Who will rid us of this troubled episcocopacy (real presence) and archidiagonals or pseudo-so supernumererical super jobtitlesworths?

Bruce Deans
Bruce Deans
Reply to  God 'elp us all
2 months ago

Sadly I had my tongue in cheek and was commenting more on the previous poster’s refusal to give to the church except in kind. The presbyters will have no problem paying their heating bills with cupcakes or knitted angels.

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

I think there is a bigger issue here rather than just bemoaning more central jobs. The inference is that the contrary solution is more parish priests, but those parish priests are simply not cutting the mustard if the rapidly declining numbers are anything to go by, so surely, some posts would be helpful to resource, equip and support those clergy to enhance their ministry and help it to be more impactful. There is an even bigger issue here which is in recruitment, selection and formation.. but that might take longer than a single post!!

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
2 months ago

Yes it is complex. Starting point might be asking parish clergy and PCCs what type of central posts would resource, equip and support them. I guess the central appointments aren’t helping reverse rapid decline either. Is there any way of measuring that?

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
2 months ago

Or maybe it is time to recognise that fundamental change is needed. I think the majority of the sort of people who are likely to be attracted to Christianity are repulsed by this Government’s attitude towards wealth, immigration, disability etc. Yet we don’t hear the Church speaking out against the Government – instead we hear of clubs like Nobody’s Friends and public school links. Stephen Cottrell is right that the Church of England needs to be “Simpler, Humbler, Bolder”, but it is just words. Real change is needed.

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  Kate
2 months ago

A Director of External Relations might perhaps be responsible for dealing with hostilities with neighbouring dioceses, especially those intending to “grow”. From the job description it seems however that, by External, the Diocese means anyone outside the Diocesan Bureacracy.

I recall a vicar asking a PCC to discuss “how are we perceived by outsiders?” He meant his own parishioners, and the answer was sadly in the question. Outsiders.

A (not so) humble parishioner
A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

Having read Angela Tilby’s article it is both highly unsurprising but quite disappointing that there are people so enmeshed in the diocesan machinery like Sion Rhys Evans that can seriously argue that the diocese is the most important unit in the church when many of the Anglican faithful worship in parishes and are ministered to by their parish priests and have little direct contact with the diocese at all. I’ll make it plain – it has been some time since either the bishop or one of the growing number of archdeacons set foot in my parish church, even before COVID.… Read more »

Nic Tall
Nic Tall
Reply to  A (not so) humble parishioner
2 months ago

Interesting that you say the parish share for your particular parish vastly exceeds the cost of a 1/3 priest. Across the C of E as a whole parish share roughly equals stipendiary clergy costs, although it varies between dioceses, and both form the largest part of diocesan budgets. Could I ask, how much does your parish pay to the diocese in parish share, and is your 1/3rd priest a post based on 1/3rd whole time equivalent, or is it one full time priest spread across three parishes?

Stephen Griffiths
Stephen Griffiths
2 months ago

One reason for the rise of the diocese over against the parish is that bishops and other senior staff have come from settings where they are used to having a large staff team around them and have had the ability to appoint their way out of trouble. They then perpetuate this in the diocesan structures. There is also the problem of the disconnect with parish life that comes from ‘promotion’. Rather than seeing the clergy and laity as their colleagues senior teams often seem to need more colleagues. And rather than pouring out all their time and energy into supporting… Read more »

Father David
Father David
2 months ago

If the diocese rather than the parish is to be regarded as the principal unit of mission what is the point of the Province?

Papa Doc
Papa Doc
1 month ago

The Church of England will die out. It will change into nothing more than a letting agency or a social club for weirdos.

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