Patterns of Ministry of clergy married to clergy in the Church of England
AffiliationUniversity of Chester
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AbstractThis article argues that for good practice, wellbeing and fruitful ministry, decisions by and about clergy married to clergy (CMC) in the Church of England require a clear quantitative picture of their ministry, and offers such a picture in early 2013 drawn primarily from published data, compared with national Church of England statistics. Over 26% more clergy dyads were found than previously thought, with many active in ministry. A wide variety of ministry patterns were identified, including a higher than normal percentage in non-parochial roles, supporting previous research noting high levels of boundary enmeshment and absorptiveness. Considerable gender inequality prevailed in shared parochial settings in spite of women having been ordained priest for nearly 20 years, with very few wives holding more senior positions than their husbands, while female CMC are more likely to be dignitaries than other ordained women.
CitationJournal of Anglican Studies, 2015, 13(1), pp. 68-91
PublisherCambridge University Press
JournalJournal of Anglican Studies
DescriptionThis is the author's manuscript of an article published in Journal of Anglican Studies.
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Ministry Patterns of Clergy Married to Clergy within an Ecosystem of Power in the Church of EnglandCollingridge, Susan, R. (University of ChesterUniversity of Chester, 2019-07)There have been clergy married to clergy (CMC) in the Church of England for over thirty years yet their ministries are little understood and there is limited consistency of practice regarding CMC in the church. This work aims to address both problems. The thesis argues that CMC patterns of ministry are formed during their careers within an ecosystem of power: a complex network of elements and forces acting on and in reaction to each other. The CMC ecosystem of power is akin to ecosystems in nature. It includes dyadic dynamics and extends to family and local ministry contexts, diocese and wider church. CMC are subject to various types of power and can also exert influence. For this study 15 CMC individuals were interviewed from a range of dioceses, ministry contexts and life-stages. Each interview was structured by constructing a timeline of ministry/job changes and key personal and family events. The emerging picture of CMC patterns of ministry from qualitative interview data was enriched by quantitative data from participants’ timelines to illuminate factors influencing their ministry patterns. My research indicates that CMC experience the effect of the church’s authority in negative or positive ways, most emphatically during the early period of selection, initial training and curacy. CMC are doubly vulnerable to external constraints from the institution because both spouses are dependent on the church for work, home and income. Further constraints come from liabilities, responsibilities and expectations within family and wider social networks. CMC moderate their vulnerability through adhering to ‘independent’, ‘tangential’ or ‘integrated’ models of ministry. In the light of such choices they make decisions about applying for jobs, leaving posts and engaging in part-time or full-time, paid or unpaid, parish or non-parochial ministry. Within CMC ecosystems of power, support and competition influence how CMC ministries develop, notably within the CMC dyad (couple), the most distinctive feature of CMC ministry life. CMC spouses offer reciprocal support through understanding, practical and professional help, echoing the mutuality in natural ecosystems. CMC also decide whether one partner’s ministry has priority and which one takes precedence at different times. I argue that competition between CMC partners has the potential to create a positive outcome of growth and development for CMC by creating awareness of asymmetry and encouraging development of their personal and professional relationship. I make suggestions for future research and indicate limitations to this study. I propose recommendations for improved practice with CMC in the Church of England such as greater openness about diocesan policies and more consistent training for senior clergy.
Reclaiming the spiritual in Reflective Practice Groups for ClergyGubi, Peter M.; University of Chester (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, 2017-07-01)Reclaiming the spiritual in reflective practice groups