Self-Supporting Ordained Ministry

Across the Diocese of Chester the nature of ordained ministry varies hugely, not least in the extent to which that ministry is ‘stipended’ or self-supporting, full-time or part-time. Within that overall picture, the role of Self-Supporting Ministers (SSM) is very important, not least as it has sometimes been described as the ‘ministry that minsters where other ministries cannot reach’!

SSMs hold the bishop’s licence but are not in receipt of a stipend. They are usually licensed to a parish, but may operate as sector ministers. Some work in secular employment alongside their parish duties. Essentially, there are four main expressions of self-supporting ministry. These are:

-      SSMs who work full or part time in secular employment

-      SSMs who can be classed as Ministers in Secular Employment (such as chaplains etc.)

-      SSMs who operate on ‘house for duty’ basis

-      SSMs who work full time in a parish, but not remunerated.

However, it is important to note that ‘no-one size fits all’! It is also important to note that these expressions of ministry compliment and enhance ‘traditional’ stipendiary ministry.

Like all expressions and callings in and to ministry, SSM ministry can bring both joys and particular challenges. The challenges include:

-      striking an appropriate weekly balance between ministry in the parish and a secular job or other responsibilities

-      discerning what it means to be an ordained presence in a secular workplace

-      nurturing good relationships with stipendiary colleagues who might face different challenges.

To assist, support and be a resource for SSMs, and the Diocese as a whole in developing self-supporting ministry, the Bishop of Chester has appointed a ‘Bishop’s Officer for Self-Supporting Ministry’. The current Bishop’s Officer the Revd Lyndon Bannon.

Lyndon is currently an Assistant Headteacher at a Church of England Academy on the Wirral, and has balanced, with varying success (!), the calling to self-supporting ministry with secular employment and family for over twelve years.

His role is essentially to act as an advocate, adviser, supporter and enabler of all aspects of self-supporting ministry. This is to be achieved through fulfilling the following role:

Pastoral support for SSMs

  • To be a resource for SSMs, including the provision of advice on the specific challenges of this role;
  • To facilitate the provision of events for SSMs to promote fellowship and sharing of good practice;
  • To circulate information pertaining to SSMs so they feel better supported and networked in their role;
  • To work with the CMD officer to ensure that ongoing training and development is as accessible as possible to SSMs;
  • To be available alongside bishops, archdeacons and rural deans, as a resource to help with the resolution of conflicts involving SSMs.

Selection and Training of SSMs

  • To work alongside and under the direction of the DDO in supporting and assisting those exploring non-stipendiary ministry with the discernment process;
  • To offer all ordinands who have been selected for non-stipendiary ministry to have at least a one-to-one conversation during their training;
  • To advise training incumbents and SSMs as requested on the content of SSM role descriptions;
  • To work with the IME 2 officer to ensure that the particular interests of SSMs are covered in the programme, and that it is as accessible as possible to them;

·         To ensure that SSMs are being proactive in their IME and making the most of the opportunities available to them

Wider Policy Matters

  • To contribute to the work of the Committee for Ministry, including through Officers’ Meetings and through attendance as appropriate at meetings of the Committee;
  • To attend relevant inter-diocesan events including conferences;
  • To highlight to Bishop’s Staff any particular issues of concern to SSMs;
  • To attend, where practical and desirable, clergy Chapters and Deanery Synods to raise awareness of SSM issues and promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the role(s), as well as the privileges and the challenges.

For more information, advice or guidance on self-supporting ministry, particularly if you feel called to explore this type of ministry as a vocation, then please contact The Bishop’s Officer for Self-Supporting Ordained Ministry, the Revd Lyndon Bannon: lyndon.bannon@chester.anglican.org. He would be more than happy to hear from you.

Follow this link for the latest SSM Guidance Notes

Follow these links to resources on the CPAS website which may be of interest:

 


Page last updated: 28th Feb 2019 11:58 AM