Last week, Raymond mentioned the Diocese of Chelmsford whose Bishop will soon become Archbishop of York. The Church Times reported: “Parishes in the diocese of Chelmsford are to be given a stark message next month: if they want a priest they will have to pay the going rate.”

In the Diocesan Synod next month, members will be asked to agree far–reaching changes.

Parishes that are unable to cover the cost of a full-time stipendiary priest – a figure set at £80,180, which includes a portion for central diocesan costs and clergy training – will need to consider alternatives such as a self-supporting priest in charge, or a Licensed Lay Minister. The new processes will come into effect immediately.

The Right Revd. Stephen Cotterell said that the diocese needed “a big reality check”. My text for all this has been “The truth will set you free”. People may hate what I am saying, but it’s impossible to disagree with it: the accounts reveal everything. If we don’t make these changes, it will lead to more drastic and unplanned decisions being forced upon us”.

Our own diocese will undoubtedly be facing similar stark choices.

  • take responsibility
  • give generously
  • have faith.

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