*** DEBUG END ***

Retiring bishop’s officer urges full recognition for non-stipendiary ministers

13 November 2020

diocese of oxford

The Revd Hugh Lee

The Revd Hugh Lee

THE longest-serving bishop’s officer for non-stipendiary ministers has urged the Church of England to promote and give full recognition to their ministry.

The Revd Hugh Lee, who is stepping down after 30 years as Bishop’s Officer for Self-Supporting Ministers (SSM) and Ministers in Secular Employment (MSE) in Oxford diocese, says that the Church is too inward-looking. “The Church is in danger of being run by stipendiary priests for stipendiary priests,” he says.

Almost one third of licensed (non-retired) clergy are NSMs. “It is time for the Church hierarchy to fully recognise our contribution.”

Mr Lee welcomes a May initiative, by Church House’s Ministry team to engage more NSMs, in which a working group is collaborating with a network of more than 40 Bishops’ officers for NSMs and MSEs. “This shows there is some momentum. Christians always remain hopeful.”

Mr Lee, a founding member of the network Christians in Secular Ministry (CHRISM), served on the General Synod from 2000 to 2015. The work of NSMs, he says, is to help “ourselves and others to celebrate the presence of God and the holiness of life in our work, and to see and tell the Christian story there”.

He regards his work as an energy economist as the main focus of his ministry. He held a senior post with the National Coal Board (NCB) during a period that included the 1984-85 miners’ strike. He was briefly a go-between for the NCB and union members who were unhappy with their NUM leader, Arthur Scargill.

Browse Church and Charity jobs on the Church Times jobsite

Forthcoming Events

Church Times/RSCM:

Festival of Faith and Music

26 - 28 April 2024

See the full programme on the festival website. 

Early bird tickets available


RS Thomas & ME Eldridge Society in association with Church Times:

RS Thomas Winter webinar 2024

Saturday 17 February 2024 - 4pm - 5.15pm GMT

Malcolm Guite in conversation with Jon Gower

Online Tickets available


Church Times/Sarum College:

Traditions of Christian Spirituality

January - May 2024

This is a five-part series on major strands of the Christian spiritual tradition.

Book individual session tickets or sign up for the full programme


Green Church Awards

Closing date: 30 June 2024

Read more details about the awards


Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)