Today, I have wondered if it would be possible to get the Church in Sweden to adopt the diocese of Argyll and the Isles.
We need nothing more than the crumbs from the table, you see.
A priest came today to tell us about his church. He is the vicar in community of about 20,000 people. On his staff he has:
- 8 priests
- 5 permanent deacons
- 10 full time youth & childrens´workers
- 2 caretakers
- 2 accountants
- 1 secretary
- 2 administrative assistants
- 4 full time musicians
- 1 caretaker
- several grounds workers
- a number of others whose roles I forget
The annual budget is roughly equivalent to four million pounds.
Now, once I stopped laughing hysterically, I could see that it was not all rosey. The effect of so many trained and paid staff is that it can be very hard for lay people in the congregation to offer their gifts or feel that they can contribute meaningfully. It may also be much harder to encourage people to believe that they have a role in the church, or to grow in adult discipleship.
There are questions too to be raised about what this means for the vicar and how he remains priest rather than business manager.
But still, a few crumbs would be nice. Let´s say, one priest, one deacon, an administrative assistant, a groundsworker and a one-off gift of half a million pounds? But I suppose that is just for Cowal and Bute…