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Monday, 9 July 2007

Talent & Calling, and the pipeline - (d) 9July2007

I had been in ministry about 15 years before I even heard about any Preferment List (known in some places as the Slope List, after the rather odious and ambitious fictional clergyman in Trollope's Barset Novels).

The CofE, with 40-odd dioceses/diocesan bishops, has a very flat hierarchical structure. OK there are also Archdeacons; Deans of cathedrals; residentiary canons etc. but effectively, numerically (considering the 10,000 members of the CofE clergy) there are not many promotion prospects for most clergy.

There are subtleties of ranks, including: curate, team vicar, incumbent vicar or rector, team rector, rural dean, honorary canon, etc - though most would deny that 'rank' is the appropriate term to use anyway.

There was a time when those with 'preferment' had significantly larger stipends than parochial clergy - but that is really not the case anymore. An archdeacon only gets 1.1 times the stipend of the average priest. [edit: an Adn I know corrects me and says they actually receive a whole 1.3x average stipend, not 1.1 - form that ambition queue right here!] Considering the additional hard work, thin support, and general hassle that archdeacons frequently receive, 'promotion' in the church is not all glory.

There was mention in the Report of a 'pipeline' to try and help spot potential leaders in the church, and to train them for appropriate future senior roles. Of course adding people to lists, or putting them in 'pipelines' all raises expectations; and that can lead to complications - and indeed disappointments: or dis-appointments as one speaker put it.

One of the marvels of the CofE is that time and again there are people of great talent and munificent gifts amongst the ranks of its leaders at parish and national level. At times one persons gifts may best be called and used somewhere else - but gift to the church none the less.

Alastair GS101

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We need the best leaders on the ground to grow and equip the local church . . .