Tuesday, 9 June 2009

what can't we afford to lose?

So, what’s going on? The headline which has hit the national press is ‘the Church of England is turning away trainee clergy for the first time in history after £1.3 billion of its investments were wiped out’. Of course, because the Anglicans pay for people’s training this will inevitably be more of a problem for them than others, as an institution, during this recession. As far as I’m aware, no charitable organisation (Christian or not) is immune from the challenges of seeing investment and savings income effectively wiped off our balance sheets. One of my own colleagues in another Association has already been made redundant and, additionally, we have more of this years leavers not yet settled than usual, from our own Baptist Colleges. The gap between posts available and supply seems to be widening.

So what’s going on?

We have a problem.

We are not immune.

Stipend costs have increased more than inflation due to the demands of the pension scheme.

There are going to be some casualties and that is not going to be easy for anyone involved to understand, or possibly accept.

However, can we learn anything and/or is God actually speaking into this situation in the wider sense? I’m being prompted in my questions on this theme by ‘The Call & the Commission’, which I’ve been asked to review for the BMJ. It’s sub-title is “equipping a new generation of leaders for a new world.” It raises some big questions and I just wonder whether it could be the financial crisis we’re wading through might be able to help us answer them more effectively than the days of plenty. Scary thoughts though with massive implications.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Please forgive the anonymous nature of the comment but this is a thorny topic close to home and I prefer not to be identified.

I am an HMF supported minister who is being made redundant from a small church so this issue is very real.

Some of my thoughts on how this might be addressed constructively wouldn't go down too well... like paying all ministers the same (including RMs, college and Didcot staff) and for churches with more money to offer giving the current excess to a central pot.

Some of us gave up careers and sold houses to fund our training in response to God's call. Now more and more churches aren't able to call ministers because our blinking Baptist autonomy gets in the way. Maybe it's time to look at central funding again?