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Is part-time ministry good enough for 7000 souls?

11 April 2012


From Mr Ron Jeffries

Sir, — The Revd Robert S. J. Charles (Letters, 2 March) comments that the dioceses are seen as top-heavy with administration. Surely this is to the detriment of parishes.

We are a suburban parish of some 7000, with primary and high schools, two special-needs schools, a further-education college, district and mental-health hospitals, outdoor Scout activity centre, leisure centre, and country park, paying to the diocese our parish share of nearly £50,000 a year.

We are in interregnum, and are being told that we will have a live-in retired priest or a part-timer taking Sunday services and working for the parish a day or two a week. How can such a person, with that amount of limited time, possibly meet the spiritual needs of those who live and work in this parish, especially the young people who are our future?

Meanwhile, the diocese of which we are part lists 53 filled posts on its website. While some in those appointments may have parish duties, the majority do not. Mr Charles proposes that suffragan bishops be abolished; they each have staff who would not be missed. The parishes pay for their services; but we see little if any of the benefits in a parish such as ours. It is some years since we last saw a bishop or a member of staff in our church. Their impact on the community and the local media is almost nil.

If the Church is to survive beyond the next 20 years in places such as this, we need dynamic leadership to inspire and work at the grass-roots, not clergy in distant cathedrals and administrators behind closed doors.

37 Spearpoint Gardens,
Aldborough Road North, Aldborough Hatch
Ilford, Essex IG2 7SX

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