Clergy’s tricks to find pri­vacy in the par­ish

The Church of England - - NEWS - By Amaris Cole

CLERGY SOME­TIMES ‘hide from con­stant call­ers’ in the par­ish, new re­search re­veals.

A Lan­caster Univer­sity asked 46 deans ques­tions re­lat­ing to the ‘per­sonal costs of com­mit­ting your­self to God’, find­ing some have to take a break from the pres­sures of be­ing at the cen­tre of the par­ish.

The leader of the study, Dr Caro­line Ga­trell, said her find­ings show ‘liv­ing in the vicarage is dif­fer­ent from what you would do in most jobs’, re­sult­ing in some clergy hav­ing to ‘de­velop strate­gies for cop­ing’.

The Rt Rev Dr Nigel Pey­ton co-au­thored the study and said it was “re­veal­ing that ev­ery in­ter­view was in­ter­rupted in some way by a caller at the door or on the phone”.

The Bishop of Brechin said: “Be­ing a priest is like be­ing a monarch, as you can’t re­sign and your job is your life.

“As the vicar in the very ac­cu­rate sit­com Rev said, ‘there is no such thing as a day off when you are a vicar’.

“You do not have the same op­por­tu­ni­ties or free­dom as other peo­ple and this does en­tail sac­ri­fices.”

The sur­vey showed the con­flicts with liv­ing in a vicarage, with some re­spon­dents telling of how their homes were used as the par­ish of­fice, of­ten find­ing sec­re­taries work­ing in the bed­rooms, or dur­ing com­mu­nity lunches ex­pe­ri­enc­ing mem­bers of the con­gre­ga­tion go­ing into their kitchen and help­ing them­selves to the con­tents of the cup­boards.

One in­ter­vie­wee spoke of the bat­tle to pre­serve bank hol­i­days, hid­ing in the back of the house if they did not go out.

Dr Ga­trell said: “They put the car in the garage and shut the door and went up­stairs to a room at the back of the house, pulled all the blinds and watched TV and read with their fam­ily. If some­one knocked on the door, they pre­tended to be out.”

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