The Church of England is facing the loss of as many as one in ten paid clergy in the next five years and internal documents seen by The Times admit that the traditional model of a vicar in every parish is over.

As I have said before, where in the New Testament is the model of retirement for ministers of the Gospel? Ministering the Gospel is not a job, or even a vocation, it is a lifelong dedication and labour of love.

Increased life expectancy, combined with greater regulation and the credit crunch, has left the Church’s pension scheme with liabilities of £813 million, almost double the £461 million market value of its assets.

All of this money to serve pensions. There should never be a provision for retirement for ministers of the Gospel in my opinion and if you can’t live with that, then you are not worthy of the position frankly. The Church of England is in financial crises for something that has absolutely no precedence in the New Testament. The Church of England has modelled and followed the world and now we begin to see the consequences and it is bloomin’ heartbreaking!

One diocese that is particularly struggling is Winchester, where a meeting of the diocesan synod this morning will discuss proposals to cut clergy posts to save £1 million.

I read about this yesterday and the upshot is huge budget cuts for 2010, which would include cutting their university chaplains, Diocesan newspaper, Comms Officer, Canon Missioner, a Schools Advisor, the number of clergy, and much more besides. There has been a strong reaction from students at the University of Southampton to the news that they could be losing their chaplain, details include a website petition, facebook group, and protest at Winchester Cathedral.

TimesOnline

The Church of England is facing the loss of as many as one in ten paid clergy in the next five years and internal documents seen by The Times admit that the traditional model of a vicar in every parish is over.

The credit crunch and a pension funding crisis have left dioceses facing massive restructuring programmes. Church statistics show that between 2000 and 2013 stipendiary or paid clergy numbers will have fallen by nearly a quarter.

According to figures on the Church of England website, there will be an 8.3 per cent decrease in paid clergy in the next four years, from 8,400 this year to 7,700 in to 2013. This represents a 22.5 per cent decrease since 2000. If this trend continues in just over 50 years there will be no full-time paid clergy left in Britain’s 13,000 parishes serving 16,000 churches.

Jobs will instead be filled by unpaid part-timers, giving rise to fears about the quality of parish ministry. Combined with a big reduction in churchgoing, the figures will add weight to the campaign for disestablishment.

Nine meetings with bishops, diocesan and cathedral staff were held in London this summer to discuss the crisis. A Church report on the meetings released yesterday to The Times describes the traditional model of a stipendiary vicar in every parish as “broken in much of the country”.

This week the Archbishops’ Council approved a plan to make Anglican clergy work until the age of 68 to help to save the Church from its multimillion-pound pensions shortfall.

Increased life expectancy, combined with greater regulation and the credit crunch, has left the Church’s pension scheme with liabilities of £813 million, almost double the £461 million market value of its assets.

The scheme, created in 1998 and partly funded by churchgoers who are being asked to put more in the collection pot than ever before, has been especially hard hit because all of its investments were placed in the stock market at the end of the 1990s.

One diocese that is particularly struggling is Winchester, where a meeting of the diocesan synod this morning will discuss proposals to cut clergy posts to save £1 million.

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