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The fees changes and the retired clergy

15 March 2013


From the Revd David M. Rowley

Sir, - I was interested to read Canon Michael Storey's letter (22 February) and his conclusions regarding differentials, particularly with regard to the level of DBF grant payable to the clergy with PTO (the retired) in Wakefield diocese.

At 80 per cent, this is more than the two-thirds grant allowable in this diocese (Derby), and I wonder why this should be.

Nevertheless, Canon Storey had the benefit of being able to attend a briefing meeting to discuss the detail of the recent Commissioners' changes.

My experience was to receive a copy of a diocesan letter setting out the changes, passed on to me by one of the stipendiaries to whom it was addressed, and which made no mention of informing the retired. In the three weeks since the date of the letter (1 February), I have heard nothing "official" from the diocesan board of finance.

Moreover, in discussion with two or three local funeral directors, I learn that they, too, have received nothing in writing. It seems that the responsibility of informing interested parties was left to the local rural dean and other clergy.

Up to the changes' being (belatedly) introduced, the local funeral directors have, at my request, paid my PTO fee direct to me by cheque, as my past experience of awaiting the pleasure of local treasurers, who have probably suffered cash-flow problems, has been less than satisfactory. One treasurer required me to conform to monthly claim forms, which resulted in the making of payment up to three months after the date of the funeral or wedding, often with reminders along the way.

If the ministry of the retired clergy is thought to have any continuing value, I consider that those in office, at all levels, would do well to show a little generous courtesy to those of us who can always say "No," or "Enough is enough."

8 Weavers Close
Belper DE56 0HZ

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