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Pastors preferred?

29 June 2011


From Miss Barbara Shailes

Sir, — I hope that it was an over­sight that there was no mention of continuing vocation, development of spirituality, and pastoralia in the article about the course at Salisbury (Features, 24 June).

Senior posts in the Church need managerial skills, but for the layman they need pastors also, as do priests in — quite often — lonely posts in their diocese. As one who was a woman church worker (and how old-fashioned that sounds now!) for most of her working life, I spent 80 per cent of my time caring for people.

It is sad that an ageing population of faithful churchgoers who are no longer able to get to church are often forgotten and end their days in care homes with very little contact with the Church. The clergy have to spend so much of their time on administration, often with seven parishes to look after, that it is inevitable that this part of their vocation is put to one side.

I hope that the pilot scheme to develop skills and confidence will encourage the Church to look for the hidden depths of leadership in spiritual matters, too.

60 Broad Street, Ely CB7 4AH

From the Revd Anthony Buckley

Sir, — Your article about preparation given to women who may be called to particular posts in the Church of England was let down by the cover line “coaching women for the top”.

There are many in the Church of England, including members of the episcopate and, indeed, clearly the women mentioned, who work hard to affirm all ministries: lay, ordained, stipendiary, and self-supporting. We all, including the Church Times, need to be part of this affirmation, and thus need to be careful about language.

If a Church gives the impression that status is more important than service, then it will cease to be a Christlike Church, and will carry in it the seeds of its own decline.

If some of those you mention are called to episcopacy, there, no doubt, will be rejoicing; there needs to be equal rejoicing for those called to minister in parish, workplace, home, or elsewhere. All this is as true for men as for women.

Alleyn’s School, London SE22 8SU

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