From the Bishop of Brechin
Sir, - I am pleased to reassure your readers, like the Revd
Julian Hollywell in Derby (
Letters, 10 May), that the real names of the 46 area or rural
deans who graciously took part in the Managing Clergy
Lives research (
News, 3 May) that I conducted when I was Archdeacon of Newark
were anonymised. Their parish locations and 42 Church of England
dioceses were likewise disguised.
Across church traditions, age, gender, and other variables,
however, the research revealed a remarkably high doctrine of the
lifelong, sacrificial demands of the priestly commitments made at
ordination. Interviewees were very frank about the daily challenges
and opportunities of parish ministry: they recognised their
personal vulnerabilities and those of deanery colleagues. Yet
virtually none regretted being ordained.
The Church is keen to attract younger vocations to a more
mission-shaped ministry, and I am delighted this Petertide to
ordain a 25-year-old. To sustain exciting ministerial outputs,
however, we still need formational inputs that are embodied. Priest
is perhaps better understood as a verb rather than as a noun:
becoming priest is our vocation.
Managing Clergy Lives, written together with Dr
Caroline Gatrell, is an empirical celebration of all that is
enduring in the priesthood. As one priest said, "I cannot think of
anything more worth while, really."
Bishop's House, 5 Glamis Drive
Dundee DD2 1QG
From Dr Clive Morgan
Sir, - A key issue that may help well-being in the clergy is
that of correct selection to the priesthood in the first place.
Moreover, correct selection must have an occupational-health
component. My recent research has highlighted the importance of
this aspect, and also mooted the possible part to be played by an
occupational-psychology assessment at some stage of formation.
19 Hazel Tree Close
Cardiff CF15 8RS