Fired Up

Can’t resist one more visit to the issue of clergy employment/office holding. It is probably inevitable that the privileges attached to clergy freehold and the stipend arrangement under which one is supported while ministering – rather than paid for work done – will be eroded. That’s not all bad. Clergy do not all enjoy the same security at present – for example those who are ‘Priest in Charge’ rather than Rector. But it is often not recognised how vulnerable clergy are – ministering often in small, relatively isolated communities, they function without many of the boundaries and everyday employment protections which other members of the workforce enjoy. A minority, of course, abuse the security which they have – and bishops struggle in vain to extract square pegs from round holes. But we should not forget that it may just be the restless, energetic, troublesome, prophetic square peg which God sends to stir, challenge, proclaim – as that nice prayer so nearly says, ‘Comforter of the afflicted and afflicter of the comfortable’

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