Rummaging around the archives
Over recent months I have been making use of the new Lambeth Palace Library archives. I've been looking at material concerned with what was called 'auxiliary ministry' but has had numerous other descriptions over the years: volunteer ministry, supporting ministry, non-stipendairy ministry and currently the drab 'SSM', self-supporting ministry. More spirited terms (to my mind) have included worker-priest, priest-worker and priests in secular emplpyment, though where these have cropped up in the material I have seen the tone has been slightly dismissive. For the uninitiated, these are all terms for unpaid clergy.
I have been able to read internal reports and correspondence involving bishops, archbishops and the officials dealing with ministry matters within the Church of England. It has been fascinating. This is not the moment for a more detailed account of what these adventures have unearthed. But it may be the place for some brief observations....
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Belief is reassuring. People who live in the world of belief feel safe. On the contrary, faith is forever placing us on the razor's edge. Jacques Ellul