seeking adoption

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…

6 thoughts on “seeking adoption”

  1. Yes, being a lay person in such a church would be a nightmare for me – I would feel there was nothing for me to offer. The trick, I think, is to draw the laity into our existing church, so that running it is important to them, while at the same time, doing so invigorates their life and ministry in the community. We actually HAVE people who can do all and more of these functions – we have just not yet persuaded that doing them is as important as the things they are currently doing.

    Actually, we have not yet persuaded them that they can do these things.

    And we have not persuaded them they want to learn enough to be able to do it.

    BUT we are in a far far better position than any church with so many staff. We are in a place where we can offer the odd, the disabled, the under educated a real chance to be disciples and to be part of the church.

  2. yes. But we could still do with the half a million pounds.

    Saw some fascinating and beautiful places today and experienced one of the most moving services I can remember in a long time.

    More on that later…

  3. Ok, there must be someone out there that has that half a million pounds and as ‘its good to talk’ please do get in touch.

  4. Just wanted to say hello! It would have been fun to run into you in Uppsala, unfortunately Maria told me too late (ycw-ning).

    And yup, we do have some problems with having such a grand “costume” -it’s good to be reminded of that. As well as it’s improtant to remeber ones blessings.

  5. Hello J. It’s good to have another ycw connection. Sweden was wonderful and there was much that was exciting about the church. I suspect what could make that connections between Sweden and the Episcopal/ Anglican churches in Britain exciting is that we have a lot of shared ground, but almost opposite external circumstances.

  6. You are right! And a lot of congregations have a lively exchange due to this.

    Maybe we should start one more?!

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