From the Revd Ian Aveyard
Sir, - Your correspondents (14 February) and
interviewees (News, 7
February) seem to suggest that the reluctance of clergy to
serve in the north may be due to a lack of commitment. Research
conducted for the Ministry Council between 2009 and 2011 (The
Trajectory of Vocation from Bishops' Advisory Panel to First
Incumbency) suggests otherwise. It appears to be the result of
a complex interaction of demographics and clergy practice.
As a result of the Church's ordaining people later in life, many
incumbents considering a further move, and curates considering an
incumbency, relate that distance from ageing parents is a
significant factor in making decisions. Many say that they wish to
be no more than one hour's travel from them. It is possible that,
for some, this may be more a justification than a reason, but I
doubt it, since those in the Northern Province related this just as
much as their southern colleagues.
This would not matter if our recruitment were evenly spread
across the country, but at times nearly half our clergy have been
drawn from the area bounded on the north and west by Oxford diocese
(inclusive of Oxford).
Furthermore, whatever other arrangements might be advocated,
actual clergy practice precludes having two days off together, or
even the evening before as well as the day. This leaves travel
further than the hour as not wholly recommended for a "rest"
19 The Damsells, Tetbury
Gloucestershire GL8 8JA