Second class Priests with Second class Training? : a study of Local Non stipendiary Ministry within the Church of England

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1 This article was downloaded by: [ ] On: 25 August 2015, At: 11:55 Publisher: Routledge Informa Ltd Registered in England and Wales Registered Number: Registered office: 5 Howick Place, London, SW1P 1WG Educational Action Research Publication details, including instructions for authors and subscription information: Second class Priests with Second class Training? : a study of Local Non stipendiary Ministry within the Church of England Michael West a a The Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Ipswich, United Kingdom Published online: 11 Aug To cite this article: Michael West (1993) Second class Priests with Second class Training? : a study of Local Non stipendiary Ministry within the Church of England, Educational Action Research, 1:3, , DOI: / To link to this article: PLEASE SCROLL DOWN FOR ARTICLE Taylor & Francis makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of all the information (the Content ) contained in the publications on our platform. However, Taylor & Francis, our agents, and our licensors make no representations or warranties whatsoever as to the accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose of the Content. Any opinions and views expressed in this publication are the opinions and views of the authors, and are not the views of or endorsed by Taylor & Francis. The accuracy of the Content should not be relied upon and should be independently verified with primary sources of information. Taylor and Francis shall not be liable for any losses, actions, claims, proceedings, demands, costs, expenses, damages, and other liabilities whatsoever or howsoever caused arising directly or indirectly in connection with, in relation to or arising out of the use of the Content. This article may be used for research, teaching, and private study purposes. Any substantial or systematic reproduction, redistribution, reselling, loan, sub-licensing, systematic supply, or distribution in any form to anyone is expressly forbidden. Terms & Conditions of access and use can be found at

2 Educational Action Research, Volume 1, No. 3, 1993 'Second-class Priests with Second-class Training?': a study of Local Non-stipendiary Ministry within the Church of England MICHAEL WEST The Church of St Thomas the Apostle, Ipswich, United Kingdom ABSTRACT This is a study of training for the Local Non-stipendiary Ministry within the Anglican Church Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. The article explores the extent to which the study can be identified as "Action Research', describes the research undertaken with three local groups, and attempts to set the issues that are identified within a national Church context. The Background In 1988 the Anglican Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich authorised a Local Ministry Scheme in the Diocese. This scheme would eventually mean that many lay people from individual congregations in Suffolk would be able to test a vocation to the clergy ministries of PRIESTHOOD or DIACONATE, and PRIESTHOOD is a ministry of the church bestowed through ordination by a Bishop enabling the Individual to preside over the worship and sacraments of the church, to preach and to have a responsibility for pastoral care. Often priests In the Anglican Church are 'Vicars' or 'Rectors' of local churches. They have a 'representative' function, representing the Church in the community and representing the people to God and God to the people. DIACONATE is a ministry in the church traditionally associated with preparing the table for communion and taking the sacraments to the sick. It Is presently a clergy role involving the leading of worship, preaching and pastoral care. The Deacon cannot celebrate the Eucharist or "bless". Deacons share In the representative functions of priesthood. The role has come to prominence in the Church of England over recent years to accommodate the ministry of women. THE PARISH is the designated legal area surrounding each parish church for which it is responsible. Every dwelling in England is in a Church parish. 361

3 MICHAEL WEST if accepted could train locally for these ministries and then exercise them in their local churches in a voluntary capacity alongside their full-time PARISH priest and other lay and locally ordained people. The Bishop appointed a Diocesan Officer with a view to establishing Local Non-stipendiary Ministry (LNSM) in the DIOCESE. The scheme envisaged the development of local Ministry Teams consisting of people chosen from the participating local church or groups of churches from which vocations to Priesthood and the Diaconate (Clergy ministries) should be identified by the local church and tested through selection procedures at Diocesan level. Training would then take place in the local teams for service DIOCESE Each Bishop presides over a Diocese and each diocese covers an area of England roughly equivalent to a small county. LAY READERSHIP is a lay ministry which authorises a person to preach, lead worship and engage in pastoral care. Lay Readership involves selection, training and licensing. in the local church. The scheme also envisaged that other team members who may have been selected for the LAY MINISTRIES OF READER OR ELDER through the Diocesan structures appropriate for that ministry, could train with them in the same team. A decision was made by the Officer and the Bishop to pilot the scheme in a few selected parishes and to allow procedures and course material to develop with the project As Vicar of a town church in the Diocese, my association with the scheme began when I successfully applied for the parish I work in to be one of the first three parishes chosen to pilot the new scheme and became further involved when I was asked to co-write the course material together with the Officer. In these dual capacities I subsequently became involved in the organisational aspects of the course including selection and assessment procedures and ultimately in the course's further development. During this time I decided to research aspects of the course identified by the question: "To research the issues and dilemmas raised by training individuals for local non-stipendiary and accredited ministry in groups in the local church situation and to explore these issues and dilemmas in the context of the personal knowledge of individuals selected for LNSM, their life histories and their present contexts". The Research Process In order to begin my research I selected three groups undertaking LNSM in the Diocese and joined them in the third term of their first year after they had been through the selection procedure demanded in the second term. The groups had identified members for the clergy ministries of Priesthood and Diaconate and for the lay ministry of Lay Reader. They were meeting together to undertake a unit of the course work on 'Worship'. Those people from the group who had not been selected for Clergy or Lay ministry stayed in the group to support the candidates. 362

4 SECOND-CLASS PRIESTS WITH SECOND-CLASS TRAINING? 1 I think it would be fair to say that the research that followed can be located within the 'Action Research' tradition but was not to be a classical exposition of the genre. I am not, for example, an individual using research in my work place as a way of improving my professional practice through reflection. Indeed, I am a person involved in a complex enterprise in which my own agency is limited. I am the leader of a parish team which includes LNSMs. They have now completed training and are working with me in my WORKING HYPOTHESES The study is underpinned by the following working hypotheses. 1. That Personal Knowledge Is a construction, drawn from a range of social contexts, informed through a reflection upon evidence. It is therefore provisional and ambiguous but potentially generative, being open to reconstruction. 2. That the self is a complex entity, socially and personally constructed, able to converse internally and to be the object ofits own action. 3. That personal development requires an identification of the schemata that filter experience and inform practice. 4. That people act towards things on the basis of the meanings they have for them. These are often expressed through metaphor and simile, and occur often in the form of narrative or 'story'. Narrative is a meaning-making process, mediating between the canonical world of culture and the world of beliefs, hopes and desires. 5. That guiding images, likely to inform, but not necessarily determine practice is an important way in which the self is expressed. 6. That a study of the development of professional identity and a body of personal knowledge will be necessarily biographical. own local parish situation. They have never been the subject of my research. I am currently involved in the development of the Diocesan LNSM scheme through being a member of its management group and I am continuing to research the issues and dilemmas raised by LNSM within the three groups currently under training. However, I have no direct responsibility for the scheme, its day-to-day management or its future structure. Nevertheless, my research exhibits the following characteristics shared with 'action research'. There is a desire to bring about change in a variety of ways. On the larger canvas this desire is related to making a contribution to the wider understanding of LNSM with a view to developing and improving its practices and procedures. Within the three groups being researched this desire relates to developing insights with the groups and more specifically with individuals chosen for clergy ministry about their own developing 'identities' and practice through exploration of the issues and dilemmas associated with LNSM and the way their life histories interrelate with this. And on a personal note, my research is designated 'Inservice Training' by the Diocesan authorities, designed to provide me with a means of developing insights into the research process, the LNSM course and my own professional practice. I have come to view myself as a campaigner for and defender of LNSM, and it is certainly true that 363

5 MICHAEL WEST significant parts of my professional practice are directly affected by LNSM development. More specifically my research is placed within a case study paradigm, and is characterised by a cyclical model of data collection, analysis and 'triangulation'. It is essentially a 'practical' enterprise attempting to build theory from the personal experience of participants within the context of their relationship with each other and with me as researcher. The research has provided, especially in its second phase, opportunities for participants to reflect on their experiences and their practice with a view to self-analysis, a characteristic of 'first order' action research, and my own self-reflective approach has similarities to that which is often characterised as 'second order' action research. However, at a time when the title 'Action Research' is applied to a growing diversity of activity, and there are those who are attempting to define the parameters more specifically, I present this paper as a study which sits upon the boundary to await the erection of the fence, either before it or behind it! I have already characterised my own agency in the research process as complex. Part of that complexity may be focussed around the words 'insider' and 'outsider'. I am an 'outsider' to the groups I am researching in the sense that I am entering their physical territory and I don't normally inhabit it. I am arguably an 'insider' in my research inasmuch as I share elements of language, culture and belief with the groups, work within the same authority structures, and share the same commitment to the process and success of LNSM. As a fifteen-year-old asked to reflect on the nature of original sin rather succinctly put it to me a year or so ago, "We are all in the shit, it's just the depth that varies". However, the shit thus conceived may be argued to both unite us and separate us. In Acts of Meaning (1990) Jerome Bruner describes as "Folk Psychology", a recognition that our experience and intentional acts are shaped through participation in cultural systems of interpretation. On this model, if we are not all in the shit, we are certainly all in the culture, all constructing meaning with the tool kit that culture gives us in the structures she provides. This perspective suggests that it is at least possible METHODOLOGY The study takes place within a case study paradigm. Data were initially collected through three observations with each group, through a questionnaire designed to allow individual group members to express feelings about themselves and the group and my own personal diary. Analysis utilised a grounded theory technique summarised by McKeman (1991) and the analysis subsequently shared with the groups. The focus of the study has subsequently changed to encompass both biographical research with the clergy candidates using and critiquing a 'Biographical Transformation Model" pioneered by Knowles (1992). This was designed to link formative experience to 'professional' practice. Also the study has attempted to explore the national and historical contexts in which LNSM operates. that each faith and each 'church' experienced by each individual and group may well represent a subtly different meaning system. Therefore, although the groups share elements of the same culture and belief system that I do, I 364

6 SECOND-CLASS PRIESTS WITH SECOND-CLASS TRAINING?' am yet separated from the individuals and the groups, as indeed they may well be from each other, by different experiences and interpretations of that culture, sharing language and experience which may yet separate us. 1 am an 'outsider' even as an 'insider'. Also, I am placed by individuals and groups within an authority structure that has the labels 'priest' and 'Diocese' associated with it. Indeed I have come to believe that group members understand my role as researcher and as co-author of the material in a way that I could best describe by the words Tutor/observer/facilitator. As researcher I remain part of the Diocesan education process and am accepted as part of the overall 'package' of training with a recognised role in the groups to assist the process of self and group reflection, both for the sake of the present individuals and, inasmuch as this co-reflection may lead to changes in the course in the future, for the sake of others who will come after. Therefore this title recognises a degree of my own agency in the process of this research, focussed specifically when working with individuals, but present throughout the process. I think it would be fair to say that I am committed to the process as a 'reflective research practitioner' and to the groups as part observer and part facilitator, or to use an 'action research' label for this second role, a 'reflective educator'. A Personal Engagement in Research This whole process has perhaps inevitably become something of a voyage of discovery for me. Initially as a Christian minister and subsequently also as a researcher my association with LNSM has led me to reflect on every aspect of my professional work and the knowledge that underpins it. As a parish priest, working alongside two LNSM ministers I have had to redefine my own role in the parish in which I work, moving from 'minister' to 'team leader'. This process has not been without pain. I had been developing the skills associated with building and leading teams over many years and was committed to collaboration. However, moving from an 'individual' ministry to a 'shared' ministry has involved other changes. Firstly it has demanded of me a fundamental shift in the pattern of my working day, moving the location of my work away from its traditional home in the vicarage and its study to a newly constituted shared area of work which we have designated the "parish office', the very title of which symbolises the greater emphasis on administration which is a practical consequence of collaboration. And perhaps inevitably, it has raised issues of my own professional status and role in the parish and it has done so in the context of such a practical question as whether or not a visit to a parishioner at home or in hospital from an LNSM priest is equal to that of the Vicar or "does the Vicar need to call as well?" And similarly, "who should do the weddings, funerals and baptisms of 'church' people or well-known local parishioners?" It would be easy to allow LNSMs to become second-class priests in the parish in which they work, but enabling them to operate on an equal footing brings the occasional allegation that I don't "care enough' to come myself, or am not 365

7 MICHAEL WEST 'concerned enough' to do the service myself, from those less familiar with the concept of LNSM. This is still painful. Also, working with people who were once 'parishioners' and are now clergy, who are more effective than I am in various aspects of ministry and are the focus of various parish activities that no longer centre around me, is a constant salutory reminder that collaboration is not just an engagement with the mind but is also a powerful engagement with the emotionsl As researcher I also began to work with theoretical perspectives that challenge traditional church belief systems and demand an engagement between theology on the one hand and those disciplines on the other hand that each make a contribution towards theories of learning and meaning making. Working with 'constructivist' theories of meaning making challenges understandings of 'objectivity' and ontological systems of thought. Church hermeneutics attempt to establish the meaning beyond the situation, constructivist thought challenges the possibility of meaning 'beyond'. There is therefore an inevitable tension for the Christian researcher who has become committed to constructivist thought in the context of research and is prepared to work through these understandings in the context of theological debate. The Research: issues and their context What was fascinating right from the beginning of the research was the way in which the issues and dilemmas identified in the local situation placed LNSM in the centre of many debates that one could argue are central to the life of the Anglican Church at the moment. The Anglican Church was described as "a bubbling cauldron" nearly thirty years ago by Roger Lloyd in his book, The Church of England , and the image of an excited mix of ingredients bubbling together, ready to burn the fingers of any who may get too close, may still be a delightfully appropriate image for a church seen by many outsiders as matching the quiet serenity of an English Country scene. The three groups that I am researching came from three very different situations in Suffolk. One of the groups came from a town centre church in a small market town that we will call Stowerton. Another came from a church on the outskirts of a seaside town and included a large housing estate. We will call this Walthorpe. Two members of this group had attached themselves to a church on the estate designated a Parish Ecumenical Project (PEP) as their church's representatives. The third group was drawn from a country benefice with three parish churches that we will call Naybridge. The Suffolk Diocese is in Rural East Anglia whose county town is Ipswich. I undertook the initial cycle of data collection by observing each of the groups on three occasions. Each session was taped and subsequently transcribed. Additional observations were recorded as field notes, and anecdotal records kept of incidents observed before and after the sessions. A questionnaire was employed to enable individual group members to 366

8 SECOND-CLASS PRIESTS WITH SECOND-CLASS TRAINING? 1 express feelings about themselves and the group, and I kept a personal diary to log my own feelings and reactions. Analysis utilised a grounded theory technique summarised by McKeman (1991) and these data were subsequently taken back to the groups and used as the basis for reflective study. This initial cycle of data collection and analysis enabled me to begin to place the LNSM course in the context of the wider issues facing the Anglican Church at this time, and it is this aspect of the study that I want to explore specifically in this article. Two important clusters of issues emerged from the groups that I want to look at in more detail. The first was a group of issues that centred around 'identity', the second was a group that centred around 'authority'. Both of these set LNSM in the centre of current debate. "Do you want to be in my gang?" was the way that I initially summed up the cluster of issues which centred around the theme of identity. In the context of the discussion on worship, 'us' was often a way that the groups identified those who practised and enjoyed new forms of worship rather than those who worshipped more traditionally. In the group from Stowerton this was focussed around a discussion about those of 'us' who worship at 10.30am as opposed to 'them' who worshipped at 8.00am. The perceived differences were identified in terms of giving rather than receiving, freedom rather than structure, community rather than the individual, and the ability to respond emotionally rather than apparently rather dispassionately. 'Us' was therefore defined as people who give, who prefer freedom in worship, recognise and value community, and are able to respond emotionally. Similar issues encountered by the group from Walthorpe were focussed on worship in The Parish Church and the PEP Church. Perceived differences here were identified in terms of freedom and structure in worship, formality and informality. The PEP church represented freedom and informality. One member at the PEP church commented tongue in cheek, "You have to robe up in Tee shirt and trainers", and referring to the Alternative Service Book, "We use it to prop up the overhead projector". This group also identified emotional response as an issue of identity. One member from the parish church commented about THE PRAYER BOOK was authorised in 1662 to regulate all services in the Church of England. THE ALTERNATIVE SERVICE BOOK (ASB) was authorised in 1980 following a period of liturgical experimentation and revision to be used as an alternative to, or alongside the Prayer Book of THE ORDINAL is that part of the Prayer Book and ASB which deals with the services of Ordination. the style of PEP worship, "To me the embarrassing thing is the way you come shouting 'Alleluia'". In the group at Naybridge this issue was focussed around a young member of the group who had come into the church from a free church background. The 'us' in this group was defined by a traditional PRAYER BOOK approach, but enormous sympathy and interest was shown in freer, more expressive forms of worship. One comment addressed to him noted. 367

9 MICHAEL WEST "you combine the kind of spontaneity which our backgrounds find difficult, and in which, culturally we're fairly inhibited". The Vicar, drawing on a recent experience of free church worship commented in the same session, "one thing we ought to do is say, right, let's start that sort of service'*. The word 'culture' appears in the discussion of two of the groups as a means of explaining differences. As above it is used to explain the Naybridge group's 'inhibition' in freer more expressive forms of worship and EVANGELICALISM (From the New Dictionary of Christian Theology, 1983) is defined by its belief in justification through faith, the supreme authority of scripture, its emphasis on preaching, the need for a personal relationship with Jesus through conversion and for personal witness. The grouping includes many Protestant churches and has an active membership within the Church of England. ANGLO-CATHOLICISM (from the New Dictionary of Christian Theology (1983) became self-conscious and more or less Identifiable from the time of the Oxford Movement in the 1830s. It laid emphasis on the sacraments, and was ceremonial in worship, emphasising the central role of the Eucharist. Drawing inspiration from the writings of the church "Fathers', it emphasised personal holiness". In the twentieth century the movement has been characterised by a passion for social justice and a care for freedom of scholarship. LOW CHURCH is a phrase occasionally coined to denote a traditional form of Anglicanism centred originally around the Prayer Book service of Morning and Evening Prayer, denoting scant ceremonial and a restrained spirituality, it is still a recognisable tradition in many country parishes. used in the Walthorpe group as a reason why the PEP is happy to shout 'Alleluia!' One member commented, "I don't like it, it's a cultural thing". One of the members from the PEP retorted that we find it difficult to recognise our own ethos. The African Church would probably view us as "stuffy old Anglo Saxons". Although the words 'culture' and 'ethos' may well have been intended to denote attitudes and patterns of behaviour associated with society in a more general sense, I subsequently wondered how much this might also refer to traditionally conceived categories of church life within the Church of England such as 'EVANGELICAL', High Church 'ANGLO-CATHOLIC' or "LOW CHURCH'. These terms are traditionally used to denote 'identity', especially SYNODICAL GOVERNMENT was introduced in 1969 and provided for elected representation at Deanery (usually a collection of a dozen or so parishes) Diocesan and General (national) level, comprising where appropriate of three "houses', the house of Bishops, the house of Clergy and the house of Laity. This system did not replace a traditional level of autonomy recognised by Bishops in their Diocese and clergy in their parishes. among the clergy, and although broadly conceived and difficult to define in terms of clear boundaries, these traditional categories are recognised in church life and do have historical origins. Indeed, Anglo Catholic and Evangelical coalitions in the church of England are recognised 'parties' within SYNODICAL GOVERNMENT. In their broadest form they constitute 368

10 SECOND-CLASS PRIESTS WITH SECOND-CLASS TRAINING? 1 collections of images, constructions and attitudes transmitted through the everyday activity of church life providing stances and understandings relating to scriptural, doctrinal and moral issues, the nature of ministry and mission, church structure and community life. They could therefore reasonably be described as sub-cultures within Church culture, systems of meaning-making which may differ radically one from another within the overall context of church life. CHARISMATIC refers to a movement in the Church emphasising renewal in the Holy Spirit. Meaning guided by the Holy Spirit and functioning according to the gifts of the spirit, the word tends to refer to those who have experienced "baptism in the Holy Spirit". The movement has become widespread in the Church of England since the 1960s. LABELLING using the above categories now includes adjectives such as "conservative" or "liberal" or "broad", and combinations of the above, e.g. 'Conservative Evangelical* or "Liberal Catholic Charismatic" are common. In order to test such alliances I asked the eight individuals from the three groups who have been selected for clergy ministry to tell me how they would describe their churchmanship. One of the four from Stowerton said "Leaning towards Evangelical", another said "Catholic, I suppose" and the two others could not place themselves in these categories. The three candidates from Walthorpe answered, "Upper end of evangelical", "Anglo Catholic - CHARISMATIC" (This was the previous candidate's wife who had worshipped and worked with him in the same churches for twenty years), and the other answered "evangelical without being charismatic". The one candidate from Naybridge answered, "Central, but usually working with evangelicals". Two things are worth noting. Firstly I gleaned from subsequent interviews with the LNSM clergy candidates that, in each case, they referred to an identity gleaned over a period of time which did not relate specifically to their present church community. Secondly it became clear that these traditionally defining church characteristics were not as significant as might have been supposed for the candidates' sense of identity. For the groups as a whole it seemed that what was important was the ethos of the individual churches where 'cultures' and values perceived to represent 'old' and 'new', traditional and modern, were more significant indicators of identity. There were also suggestions that the parishes in which the LNSM groups were operating were experiencing tensions relating to these categories, so that it was possible to talk about people who would view themselves as 'traditionalists' and 'modernists' existing side by side in the same communities. It seems as if the identity of the local churches themselves was part of this particular context. This leads on to a consideration of the use of the word 'local' in LNSM. Interviews revealed that only one of the eight candidates across the three groups could be called 'local' in the sense that they were born in the area. Indeed six of the eight have moved into Suffolk in the last ten years from communities in London, Yorkshire and County Durham. Interviewing also suggested that the building bricks of the emerging identities among those 369

11 MICHAEL WEST training to be clergy in the three groups were being gleaned from a variety of sources, many of which were outside their present church context though being applied within them. And if there is an issue of local identity which encompasses the group, the churches and the individuals training for LNSM, there is also an issue of 'catholicity* which emerges from the context of LNSM within the wider church. This issue may be expressed in the form of the question, "How much freedom can a local church have in the development of its ministry while remaining a recognised and recognisable part of the national and worldwide Anglican community? THE ADVISORY BOARD FOR MINISTRY (ABM) has recently replaced the Advisory Council for Church Ministry as a National body, set up to advise the Bishops on the selection and training of individuals for Clergy Ministries. This issue of catholicity is central to the debate on LNSM within the National Church. It brings into sharp focus the issue of how ministry can be both a 'local' manifestation and an adequate expression of the Church-of England's national identity. It is an issue of 'identity' and also 'authority' in as much as it raises issues of responsibility and accountability. This issue has been addressed by two ABM Papers recently produced by the ADVISORY BOARD FOR MINISTRY (ABM) (Policy Paper 1, 1991; Ministry Paper 4, 1992), which set out to address both issues in terms of national 'accreditation'. The more recent of these confronts the issue by calling for each scheme to maintain a 'creative dialectic' between the local and the universal, i.e. a local call to be 'tested by the wider church", for local ministers to see themselves as 'vehicles of catholicity' and to be open to strands of Christian life 'not found in the locality'. The issue is complicated by the fact that each Diocesan Bishop has the recognised right to establish schemes and ordain people for ministry, and in recent times several schemes of very different structure and intent have been set up by Diocesan Bishops around the country. The creative dialectic referred to therefore involves local churches, the Diocese to which they belong and the 'National' church represented in this context by the Bishops together in Synod, the 'House of Bishops' of the General Synod. The Advisory Board for Ministry was set up to advise the Bishops in matters relating to ordination and training. ABM therefore has a responsibility to advise the Bishops on the national context of LNSM and has produced a set of criteria for accreditation in order to establish 'catholicity' through recognised shared procedures for the selection, training, assessment and supervision of local ministers. As ABM is an advisory group it has supported its recommendations with what I have heard described by one Diocesan official as a 'stick' and a 'carrot'. The carrot is a financial incentive in the shape of a central grant paid by ABM towards the salary of a Diocesan LNSM Officer employed to oversee an accredited scheme, but only an accredited scheme. The stick is the appeal to catholicity and conformity among the Bishops explicit in the papers. 370

12 SECOND-CLASS PRIESTS WITH SECOND-CLASS TRAINING?' Related also to issues of identity and authority is another central issue critical to the context of LNSM. This issue relates to the full-time 'professional' clergy and the way that their own role in the church and in society is currently undergoing considerable change. In the context of LNSM, one issue related to this is focussed by the word 'collaboration'. The ABM Policy Paper 1 (1991) makes it clear that LNSM should not be undertaken in parishes unless they show that they are capable of 'collaborative ministry'. Collaboration expresses a shift in the understanding of the clergy role in the parish. The 'traditional' role was underpinned by Images in the 'ORDINAL' of the priest as 'shepherd' to his people the 'sheep'. The parish priest on this model is the leader of and minister to his people and the church's representative and worker in the 'parish'. 'Collaboration' expresses an image of the parish priest as a co-ordinator of the resources of the parish where lay people are called by God to share the ministry and accomplish pastoral and educational work in the church and in the world in partnership with the priest. LNSM requires a collaborative role from the clergy and is therefore set in a context where the role and identity of the clergy is an issue itself. This process was noticeable in the three groups. Before undertaking LNSM each parish had been assessed for its ability to work collaboratively and each clergyman was aware of the expectation that LNSM would change his own role in the parish. His authority could now become a matter for negotiation with the group and with the individual LNSMs. The clergyman's authority did indeed become an issue in the groups, one of the central issues grouped around the theme of 'authority'. In general terms I think it may be fair to say that each of the three groups defined issues of authority differently, and each clergyman responded in a different way. The group from Naybridge accepted the vicar's authority without question. He in turn underlined it regularly through references to higher authorities like the 'Bishop' and The Diocese' and by turning to me for support when I was present as a colleague representing the wider church. In the Walthorpe group the clergyman also established his overall authority when he felt it was questioned by reference to outside authorities. Therefore, on one occasion, in response to a discussion about Priesthood, and to underline his point, the clergyman remarked "It's a matter of Anglican order that you have to take on board". On another occasion during a dispute about the PEP he remarked, "We'll need a meeting of the PCC to sort it out, don't forget the [PEP] church exists by grace and favour of the PCC and me". THE PAROCHIAL CHURCH COUNCIL (PCC) is an group elected to be responsible for each parish church. The Vicar is its chairman. In the group at Stowerton the agenda had been set by the Vicar's recognition of the group's authority, theologically articulated in terms of the authority for ministry vested in the Holy Spirit and shared among members. 371

13 MICHAEL WEST He therefore exhibited a certain suspicion about the authority of the PCC and the Diocese in the matter of local ministry and did not use them to underline his authority. The group therefore attempted to work out the roles in the context of their meetings. The majority ultimately united behind the view expressed by one of their members in the context of leading worship, "I lead in submission to Jeremy [the Vicar]. Anyone who leads things leads them in recognition of Jeremy", an assertion that went unchallenged by all but one member. What did become clear in these exchanges was that each clergyman was operating a strategy, either consciously or tacitly, for establishing and maintaining authority within the group and that this was an uncomfortable and likely to be an ongoing issue. What is equally clear in the broader context of LNSM is that there are clergy who see LNSM as undermining the Church's commitment to the provision of the full-time professional clergyman who has undergone full-time residential training and has experience of working in a variety of settings. At a recent Deanery Synod meeting one clergyman insisted that LNSM was an attempt to provide 'cheap' clergy during a time of financial difficulty. For him and others LNSM provides 'second-class priests with second-class training'. This insult was also recently hurled at the LNSM from Walthorpe church at their Deanery Synod. These comments, widespread within the Diocese but likely to represent a minority position, open up two further issues. The first is Ihe way that the Church provides ministry in the present context. J. R. H. Moorman in his book A History of the Church of England (1980) identifies the beginning of a significant development towards the union of parishes into larger 'benefices', and the development of Team Ministry'. These trends, growing over the last twenty years, give us yet another important context for LNSM. It can be argued that the Anglican Church is struggling to provide pastoral care in every parish in England because of a manpower crisis fuelled by a difficult financial situation, and has looked at various collaborative models as a way of dealing with it. LNSM can be viewed in this context because it involves the utilisation of voluntary ministers working in a collaborative context, and for this reason has appeared to many Bishops as an attractive option. The second issue revolves around the methodology for training LNSMs. Initial experimental local schemes tended to involve areas and individuals who could not learn effectively through traditional teaching methods associated with reading and essay writing. One scheme in Southwark in 1978 trained people from the Elephant & Castle area of London who had little formal schooling and no academic qualifications. A previous experiment in Bethnal Green in the sixties had a similar social milieu. LNSM therefore began in this context, and although later schemes have stressed the value of reflecting on experience, and established exploratory models of learning, not because of the perceived abilities of LNSM candidates, but because of a commitment to these educational theories, the context of working with people without formal qualifications 372

14 SECOND-CLASS PRIESTS WITH SECOND-CLASS TRAINING? 1 has continued. It is certainly true of the groups I am researching. The assessment of LNSM training as 'second class' may refer to the perceived aim of LNSM to utilise 'non-academic' people via 'scaled down' training. It may set out to suggest that the model of training itself, when compared with residential training, or training associated with the acquisition of theological knowledge through the techniques of reading and essay writing, is a second-class alternative. Either way, this has tended to place LNSM in the debate about what constitutes appropriate training and learning for ministry, which more specifically is an issue about what constitutes theological learning and how it relates to the practice of ministry, i.e. in what sense is the study of such items as scripture, doctrine and church history a prerequisite for ministry and how much is it a creative part of the practice and development of ministry? These issues have tended to place LNSM in a cauldron of debate which one could describe as adversarial. As it touches on the identity, role and function of the full-time clergyman, opens up local and national issues which relate to the way that individuals, local churches. Dioceses and the Church nationally understands and operates ministry in the present hard financial climate, and therefore provides selection, training, assessment and supervision of it, so it bubbles away as a very powerful mix. It is easier to see now why I stated earlier that I see myself as a campaigner for and a defender of LNSM. It is also easy to recognise how some LNSMs can be described as 'Second-class priests with second-class training'. Correspondence Michael West, St Thomas Vicarage, 102 Cromer Road, Ipswich IP1 5EP, Suffolk, United Kingdom. References ABM (1991) The Report of the Church of England Working Party concerned with local non-stipendiary ministry. Policy Paper no. 1. London: Advisory Board for the Ministry of the Church of England. ABM (1992) A Review of LNSM Schemes: developments of models of ministry and training in recent diocesan proposals for LNSM. Ministry Paper no. 4. London: Advisory Board for the Ministry of the Church of England. Bruner, J. (1990) Acts of Meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Lloyd, R. (1966) The Church of England Bristol: SCM Press. McKernan, J. (1991) Curriculum Action Research: a handbook of methods and resources for the reflective practitioner. London: Kogan Page. Moorman, J.R.H. (1980) A History of the Church of England, 3rd edn (1st edn, 1953). London: A.C. Black. 373

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