A new association dedicated to the employment issues of Church of England (CoE) clergy has today been launched by Unite.
The Church of England Clergy Association (CECA) will be open to all CoE clergy.
The first CECA chair, Revd Pete Hobson said: “There has been an increased professionalism over recent years in the ways the Church of England manages the employment of its clergy, who are on the frontline of pastoral care on a daily basis.
“The recent tragic case of the murder of Revd. John Suddards in his own Gloucester vicarage illustrates only too well the risks clergy are exposed to in their daily working lives.
“The formation of the Association follows talks with the House of Clergy of the General Synod, which has regularly voted to support the creation of a body of this sort.
“Foremost amongst the stated aims of CECA is the support of the ministry of the Church of England, especially through its clergy. We will do this not only through supporting individual clergy, but also by education and discussion.
“We will be looking to work collaboratively and positively with bishops and all formal institutions of the church to that end.
“Clergy are now quite properly subject to formal procedures for complaints, competency and appraisal.
“The formation of the association follows talks with the House of Clergy of the General Synod, which has regularly voted to support the creation of a body of this sort.
“In extreme scenarios not only our jobs, but also our homes are on the line. In such situations, clergy deserve the very best independent advice and support – and the church as an institution is just not geared up to provide that.
“The church owes its clergy a duty of care, but in some situations it is compromised in its ability to provide that. In those situations, clergy need somewhere to turn to that fully understands the world they live and work in, but is also able to look fully to their own well-being.”
Unite has a long-established Faith Workers Branch, and represents some 2,500 members from the world’s major religions. The CECA will operate within the framework of the Faith Workers branch.