Monday, 21 January 2013

Mission or Maintenance (1) - schools

Last week I was challenged by some thinking relating to the wonderful area of what we used to call 'Job Design and Quantification' that would, in my humble opinion, have made the Golgafrinchams* appear highly capable and adept individuals. One of the many interesting elements in this consideration of the clergy roles related to schools in the parish, district or area in which our heroic cleric was located. It went just a little like this:

If you have a church school in your patch then you add some points to the total job workload equation


If you don't happen to have a church school in your patch but have non-church schools


You just happen to be involved there doing assemblies, RE coordination and perhaps even act as a member of the governing body then you award yourself:

NIL POINTS (all a bit Eurovision this isn't it?).

Yes indeedy folks, that's right - NIL POINTS!

Now one of my colleagues who was chair of governors at one school and was engaged in doing assemblies in four or five schools did all of this as part of their 'out of hours interest'. Turns out this isn't part of their job at all - it was their hobby!

Another of colleagues (who rarely went into the local church school for assemblies and was more often than not missing from governor's meeting) who had church schools in their patch had more points (and points could mean posts when reorganisation comes a knocking) with less real engagement in the school or the community that that role should have brought.

All seems a bit wrong when we start legislating for what is part of the job in such a way as we make pastoral and missional engagement something that is other than the clergy role doesn't it? But that's what we are apparently faced with (and that is a real ..... [insert you own word - I'm lost for one]!).

So here's a hint for all those who read this and find they have non church schools in your area - doing them is not, apparently, part of the pastoral or parochial ministry associated with the church, it's merely your hobby.

And, if you don't fancy schools ministry then all you need to do is avoid those with church schools in and you're sorted - all the others are merely a potential hobby and (of course) that's 'just not your calling' is it?

Simple? (Well some people obviously are!!!)


*If you don't know about the Golgafrinchams, can I suggest you read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?


Pete Broadbent said...

I'm surprised at this. At interviews for a parish we always seek to quantify the involvement that the parish/previous incumbent has/had with community schools and VA schools (and now academies). It's part of the parish statement, and the expectation is that any incumbent who's serious will engage with schools of all kinds (and involve laity where possible). There's no differentiation (though of course VA brings automatic GB duties).

Vic Van Den Bergh said...

The reason for posting this goes much wider than the question itself for the response is the key - some saw in it 'permission' to pass opportunities by when we discussed it. At least the originator had a go at the topic :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm at a loss reading this: surely the role of any church minister is to engage with the whole of the local community, not just those who happen to have a connection with a 'church' label on it?!
Sounds like someone is shuffling the deck and possibly rigging it too. Far too much manipulation of language going on to excuse those who do little and also to justify losing posts where the incumbent is engaged with the community, but perhaps there is little financial benefit.
The church putting pounds before people again!

Sui Juris said...

For me this throws up three categories of issues:

1) What do the Liley points calculated really represent? ISTM they naturally represent the compulsory work, i.e. the work the PP can't avoid doing. So for a given population there will be a certain number of occasional offices, for a given number of church buildings a certain number of services and PCC meetings, and so on. Now that work is not solely "maintenance" but there should also be room for some "optional" work - not optional in the sense that we should choose whether to do it, but that we decide to develop mission in particular ways. Work in non-church schools might count, in the sense that with limited resources we might focus more effort on schools, or more on, say, nursing homes.

In a previous post I had 142 points, where c. 100 represented a full-time job. I didn't have too much troble doing what I actually had to do, but left that post in fact because I had no spare effort for developing new work and new people. 100 points would have given me that spare capacity to resource mission (terrible phrase!)

2) Are the Liley points (we'll have to call them something else now!) correctly calculated. I would argue (for example) that population is over-assessed (and will become more so as secularisation works through society) but that church buildings are under-assessed. And we could discuss all day how to improve the formula.

3) I find the use of the points system to "equalise" deployment unhelpful. We should surely be looking for where God is blessing (or could bless) and resource there, including with clergy. That means recognising faithful persistence as well as apparent success, but it also means less resources for those who are merely consumers. He who will not work must not eat. And it also means discussing explicitly the lowering of our expectations for the "maintenance" work of the clergy (and perhaps of everyone).

Sui Juris said...

I ought to say that the points system is at least an attempt to engage systematically, and even transparently, with these questions. It's imperfect and might yield some perverse results, but it would be worse not to be engaging with it.