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Morale Deficit among Faithful Ministers in the Church of England needs Tackling

Morale Deficit among Faithful Ministers in the Church of England needs Tackling

By Julian Mann
December 12, 2017

The ordinations in east London last Thursday (December 7th) by the Anglican Mission in England were a wonderful occasion for the gospel. But it must be remembered that the main platform for orthodox Anglican ministry remains within the Church of England.

Nine men were ordained in the East London Tabernacle Baptist Church in Tower Hamlets, an area with a large Muslim population, to serve six churches - fine Bible-believing, gospel-proclaiming, people-loving men and fine new churches. But every day thousands of faithful orthodox Anglican ministers are proclaiming the saving truth of the Lord Jesus Christ in Church of England parishes across the nation.

In many cases, these ministers are serving in churches that are not altogether behind them theologically. And many of them are serving the Lord in dioceses that are going terribly astray spiritually and morally.

This inevitably takes its toll on clergy morale. Compared with the ministers in the uniformly orthodox Anglican Mission in England with a tremendous senior pastor in Bishop Andy Lines, who conducted the ordinations, and supportive, loving churches, many of these CofE ministers are suffering a morale deficit.

How can this be addressed? Clearly, local orthodox networks and friendship groups are vital. But senior pastors also have a vital role in encouraging clergy to persevere, reminding them of the eternal significance of what they are doing, providing wise personal counsel and practical support amidst the difficulties and setting an example of suffering for the gospel.

The conservative evangelical Bishop of Maidstone, the Rt Revd Rod Thomas, is providing dedicated episcopal care for around 50 churches opposed to women bishops around England. According to his September 2017 newsletter, 107 parishes had passed resolutions saying they could not in theological conscience accept women bishops (according to his website the number is now 113) but he was providing episcopal care in just under 50 cases.

Bishop Thomas is based in the south of England, so there is an urgent need for a 'flying' conservative evangelical bishop based in the North. Would the Church of England authorities agree to a second consecration? They might if the large evangelical flagship churches offered to provide the funding.

In any event, for the gospel to be proclaimed faithfully in England it is necessary that its faithful proclaimers should not lose heart. So, the morale deficit among orthodox clergy on the main platform should be a cause for concern for anybody concerned about the progress of the gospel.

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire, UK - www.oughtibridgechurch.org.uk

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