LETTER: Anglican employment

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The Independent Online
From The Rev Roger W. Reed

Sir: Strange and sad irony that you should offer a pulpit to the Rev Kit Chalcraft (Another View, 18 October) on the day that you publish the obituary of his illustrious predecessor at Hilborough.

My colleague seems as confused in his thinking as he is in his relationships. His position today owes nothing to a "two-tier" structure of appointments. Neither beneficed incumbents nor priests-in-charge do work for money, since we are neither employed nor paid, although in various ways we are privileged to be related to the secular system, for instance in the matter of national health insurance.

An Anglican minister receives a stipend, defined as an allowance to enable him to live neither in wealth nor poverty, in order that his life - not an eight-hour shift - may be devoted to ministry. He or she must take responsibility before God for what he chooses to do with the 24 hours that each day brings, subject to the commitment made at Ordination and at institution or licensing.

Kit Chalcraft complains of "a remote, centralised authority pontificating from afar" - forgetting that the priest is the local and personal representative and bearer of that authority for the pastoring and nurture of God's people. By his own action, Mr Chalcraft has rendered himself incapable of functioning as an Anglican priest in the vital matter of the sacrament of marriage. A beneficed appointment would not have protected him from his present position.

Yours faithfully,

Roger Reed

Priest-in-Charge

Blendworth and Chalton

with Idsworth

Horndean,

Hampshire

18 October

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