Maundy Thursday today. So we gathered clergy and Lay Readers in the Cathedral for our annual Chrism Mass. It’s an important – and a moving – moment. And this is what I said
I decided not to trouble myself with the recent reports that Clergy are at the top of the job satisfaction statistics – and publicans are at the bottom. For a start, I don’t quite understand the dichotomy. I thought that clergy and publicans were related occupation – both spending a lot of time listening to unhappy people. But then what clergy do seems to have connections to many other professions – actors, barristers, politicians, counsellors ….
But more important is whether or not clergy are happy in their work. To which the answer is a guarded ‘yes’. Clergy have a reasonable degree of autonomy in their work – they have a reasonable level of job security – they often feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and makes a difference. But I am cautious about it because I think that the task of clergy is much more challenging than it was when I was ordained 38 years ago. The march of the secular society and the decline of institutional churches have proceeded inexorably. There has been a decline in respect. I’m not nostalgic about the days of deference. But clergy life – well certainly my life – is full of difficult correspondence and robust exchanges. At the extreme end is abuse and bullying – as described by Revd Malcolm Round, Rector of Balerno in his blog at http://www.stmungos.org/?p=15907