Thursday, 24 March 2011

Earning a Living

Many people living in poverty have little or no choice over how they are able to earn a living.

Looking at the Church Times each week clergy now, it seems, have a lot of choice over their next post. Gone are the days when the Bishops played constant games of chess, moving clergy from place to place, telling them at every move that they are 'by far the best man for the job'. Instead most now have to go through, an often, elaborate process of selection which includes visits, presentations and interviews. Clergy get to discern whether its the right house, the right people, the right place, and parish representatives whether it is the right preacher, right social fit, and right experience. God is in their somewhere....and the hardest part is hearing God's voice over the individual right of choice.

For those ordained a long time, contemplating a move in the church now is a daunting thought - it is not unusual for me to meet those who have never applied for a job in their lives. It takes a great deal of courage to step out into the unknown to where God may be beckoning next, particularly if rejected on the first application. For others, used to a more secular environment, however it is also difficult...these individuals often find it hard to see ministry in terms of vocation and priesthood in terms of the whole person. Seeing ministry as just another job does not go down well with parish reps and senior staff alike, particularly when applications abound for a variety of posts with no clear vision for what next.

Whilst choice in all sorts of ways may cause problems, choice we all do have, whether it is applying for a post, offering the post or accepting or rejecting a post. I have held seven fulltime posts since leaving school so that is 70p to Christian Aid today. Again a small price to pay for doing the work I love and having the opportunity to follow God's calling in the first place.

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