Independent research into the wellbeing of clergy from working class backgrounds has been published today as part of a 10-year programme into how clergy can flourish in ministry.
The findings of the qualitative research conducted by York St John and Bournemouth universities, will inform Living Ministry, a Church of England research programme exploring clergy wellbeing.
'Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters’ Exploring the Wellbeing of Working-Class Clergy in the Church of England: A Rally Cry for Change', by Dr Sharon Jagger and Dr Alex Fry, with Rebecca Tyndall, used material from interviews and focus groups with 50 ordained ministers.
It follows the publication last year of ‘If it Wasn’t for God’: A Report on the Wellbeing of Global Majority Heritage Clergy in the Church of England, by Dr Selina Stone. Research into the wellbeing of disabled clergy is planned for 2024.
Dr Liz Graveling, who oversee the Living Ministry programme, said: “This is a vivid portrayal of the opportunities and challenges experienced by working-class clergy. Our hope is that this research will contribute to ensuring that all clergy ministering in the Church of England are able to thrive.”
Rev Canon Nick McKee, Director for Ministry, said: “This report is a valuable contribution to the ongoing work in the Church of England to become much more diverse and representative of the communities we seek to serve. I am really grateful to those who have shared their stories.
“Working class clergy are a precious gift to the church in its mission to spread the message of the Good News of Jesus Christ to all people.”
Notes to editors
- Living Ministry has commissioned a number of independent studies to deepen understanding of the experiences of a wide range of ordained ministers, complementing a mixed-methods longitudinal study following four cohorts of clergy over a period of ten years.
- The authors of the report are Sharon Jagger (York St John University) and Alex Fry (Bournemouth University, with Rebecca Tyndall (York St John University)