Imbalanced clergy

Canon Alan Hargrave’s question at General Synod today is a worthy one, and calls for answers not just from Ministry Division, as he requests, but also from those responsible for encouraging ministry in more difficult areas. It raises serious matters.

To summarise Alan Hargrave’s question: There is an imbalance in the number of clergy applicants for clerical posts in places of urban deprivation and isolated rural areas compared to city centre, middle class suburbia and other popular areas of ministry…What is this saying and what is being done about it?’

Well, the answer of course, is very little is being done about it.

There are some significant issues to face – for example, where are curacies offered? Where do colleges or training courses encourage placements? When will senior clergy set an example and live in deprived areas? How will NSMs or readers be encouraged to work in deprived areas? What incentives will the church offer to those willing to sacrifice some aspects of comfortable family life in order to work in deprived or isolated areas? How do we encourage those involved in ministry to move beyond their ‘comfort zone’?

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