library and links: let's go exploring!

Material about worker-priests is rare compared to the multitudinous output from the church about other aspects of the faith, not least about ordained (or 'sacred') ministry. I thought it might be helpful to draw together what I had found in one place. Here are some I know of. Do please let me know of others you think might be added: remember, they must be of direct interest to the MSE/WP vocation.


Wikipedia entry - good starting point
Gone fishing (in the middle of the workplace) An excellent article by Richard Spence. Worth reading, not least by stipendiary colleagues and those involved in nurturing vocations

Surveys and assessments

2011 result of survey conducted amongst CofE SSM clergy by Teresa Morgan and Graham Lewis and reported in two linked articles in the Church Times April 2011. See here for original report (pre-editing by Church Times). 'Morgan is critical of the Church for its lack of strategy with regard to SSM and especially of the failure of dioceses to consider SSMs in their planning processes. She dismisses the raft of alleged impediments to the effective use of SSMs often cited by Church leaders, arguing that her survey has empirically disproved them.' Source

The Experiences of Ministry Survey 2011 published summary findings in Novemner 2011. Nothing much that is explicitly about MSE/WPS except this on time off: 'It is common for clergy to take one day off a week most of the time. However, for some this is a rarity with ministers in secular employment least likely to take a day off a week.' See the full report here.

Weightier treatments of the theme

Patrick Vaughan's 1987 doctoral thesis Non-Stipendiary ministry in the Church of England: A History of the development of an Idea. (Rather large PDF)

Raymond Eveleigh's 2011 MA Dissertation on NS ministry within the CofE

Priests in Secular Employment by Richard Spence, A New Zealand priest (with links to a website containing his research notes).

The Worker Priests...a Movement Fallen into Oblivion
by Veit Strassner . Trans. from the German. Date not clear, but a comprehensive survey of the early RC worker-priests and their prohibition by the Vatican.

Worker Priests – Lost cause or cause celebre? John Mantle, via CHRISM. (John was a good friend to the worker-priest initiative and his early death was a loss to the church).

John Rowe Worker-priests: A Rejoinder see frontispiece (right) - click image to access full text


Official things from the Church of England

This undated document appears on the CofE site with the note: This document is designed to assist DDOs, Bishops' Advisers and others who have a role in selecting MSEs for the Church of England.

CMD (continuing ministerial development) in the Church of England. (What might a CMD programme with MSE/WPs in mind look like? See here).

Does the Church of England understand the MSE/worker-priest vocation?
It seems not. Its main vocation website (see below, click to access), which is devoted to explaining ordained ministry to those considering it, says hardly anything about this vocation. It is in and through the church's formal and public material that one gets the clear message that MSE/WP vocations don't exist. Perhaps this near-absent level of recognition is related to other structural blindnesses such as not taking seriously the place, mission and capacity of the faithful laos/laity, or the social and political context in which the gospel is witnessed to. Please comment.

From other parts of the church

Tentmaking ministry in the Orthodox Church
('tentmakers', from St Paul's own means of earning a livelihood)

MSE/WP mentions on diocesan websites (mainly C of E)



Non-Stipendiary Ministry: from radical idea to new beginning,
by Barry Wilson (date unknown)

CPAS 'Resource Sheet 8' on non-stipendiary ministry

A celebration of Self Supporting Ministry Address at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey 2011 (Bishop of Sheffield)

About, or by, individual men and women following MSE/worker-priest calling

Michael Ranken (1928-2003) An appreciation, by Dorrie Johnson

The Rt Revd Tom Slipshod rather regretted the idea of a year-long absence from his See in order to experience the world of work. It had seemed a good idea at the time. Still, only eleven months and two weeks to go.

"I simply argue that the Cross be raised again at the centre of the market-place as well as on the steeple of the church. I am recovering the claim that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage-heap; at a crossroad so cosmopolitan that they had to write his title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek (or shall we say in English, in Bantu and in Afrikaans?); at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died. And that is what He died about. And that is where churchmen [sic] should be and what churchmanship should be about.
George MacLeod, Only One Way Left,
The Iona Community, 1958