*** DEBUG END ***

Case for a limit on multi-church benefices

28 July 2010


From the Revd Mark Bailey

Sir, — I recently officiated at a funeral at which two visiting churchwardens from different parts of the country were present. Both mentioned that their respective rectors were off sick, suffering a mental breakdown. Both priests were responsible for ministering in the countryside — one to 15 churches, the other to 11.

One churchwarden complained that this was the second time that one of their rectors had suffered stress-related mental illness. The other complained that only one applicant had applied for the post when advertised: no one else wanted to take on overall responsibility for 11 churches.

Given current budgetary constraints affecting dioceses, and another swath of reorganisation being implemented across the Church of England, is it not now time for national guidelines to be drawn up to help dioceses in developing realistic job-descriptions, including limiting the number of parishes any one incumbent can reasonably be expected to serve?

The line will need to be drawn somewhere if the Church of England is to take more seriously its responsibility for the mental health of its clergy.

The Rectory, 6 Green Close
South Wonston
Winchester SO21 3EE

Letters to the editor

Letters for publication should be sent to letters@churchtimes.co.uk.

Letters should be exclusive to the Church Times, and include a full postal address. Your name and address will appear alongside your letter.

Forthcoming Events

6-7 September 2022
Preaching as Pilgrimage conference
From the College of Preachers.

27-28 September 2022
humbler church Bigger God conference
The HeartEdge Conference in Manchester includes the Theology Slam Live Final.

More events

The Church Times Archive

Read reports from issues stretching back to 1863, search for your parish or see if any of the clergy you know get a mention.

FREE for Church Times subscribers.

Explore the archive

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four* articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)

*Until the end of June: we’re doubling the number of free articles to eight, to celebrate the publication of our Platinum Jubilee double issue.