Interesting the way things sometimes tie up. I found myself earlier in the week listening to an analysis of the number of [particularly younger] clergy who are attracted by sector ministries, chaplaincies and the like. I can see the attraction – some boundaries around the working hours, clearer management structures, maybe better pay. Beyond that is what is attractive for members of a minority church – ministry which connects with the whole population.
And then yesterday I was at a Stakeholders Conference [dreadful word] about spiritual care in the NHS – of which more another day. But there it was again – the tug of chaplaincy, freedom from the need to raise your own stipend and keep the roof on – and all that – the purity of working with people without all the clutter.
One thing it does make me more certain about. I’ve always wanted to do some work in helping clergy and vestries to have a clearer understanding of one another. It’s about roles and expectations, about management and accountability – what the relationship is and what it is not. We’re designing something at the moment. We can’t and shouldn’t attempt to turn congregational ministry into something as superficially tidy as secular employment – but we could iron out some of the difficulties.