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What is the current definition of a self-supporting minister (SSM)?

20 July 2018

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers given below.


What is the current definition of a self-supporting minister (SSM)? I understand that priests or deacons who are paid locally by parishes are described as SSM in some parts of the country.

Your answers: The Church of England largely uses the term “self-supporting minister” to describe licensed clergy who are not paid a stipend. This does not normally cover those in house-for-duty posts, retired clergy, or chaplains.

(The Revd) John Lees (Bishop’s Officer for Self-Supporting Ministry, Diocese of Exeter)

Colyton, Devon


Your questions: When a priest acts as deacon at mass, should he or she wear their stole across the chest or hanging down? I have recently seen both ways used.

K. D.

St Swithin’s feast day on 15 July is one of very few religious festivals included in my WHSmith Diary. There is a legend associated with this saint (also called St Swithun), whereby any rain falling on his feast day means rain for 40 days thereafter. There has been no such rain in my part of the country this year! My question is, why do we not celebrate the feast day of this ninth-century Bishop of Winchester? He does not get a mention in the Revised Common Lectionary.

P. L.


In St Paul’s, the new Bishop of Bristol was presented not by two or three bishops, but by the Archbishop of York and by a lay and a clergy representative from the diocese. This, in particular the lay involvement, was a powerful visual symbol; why doesn’t it happen more often?

C. B.


Why must excellent causes and charities change their names from ones that tell you what they do to ones that don’t? “The Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service” was clear and informative, “Thirty-one:eight” (News, 13 July) is meaningless unless you know already what it is about (and even then is too broad). Similarly. why “Scope”, “Crosslinks”, “Practical Action”, “Biblica”, or “Sense” (and probably others)?

R. S.


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Sat 13 Aug @ 05:33
“Due process will now follow, through the clergy disciplinary canon. . . The suspension will be kept under regular… https://t.co/fwQ2M3ZaBm

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