Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An act of rebellion?

On Facebook a few hours ago it has been announced by Anthony Dancer, the Social Justice Commissioner for our church, that a new union has been formed for clergy and church workers to belong to:

"... the launch of a new union for Anglican clergy and church workers. It is called the Anglican Clergy and Church Workers Union. Membership is open to all clergy, and all those involved in church work, and that includes chaplains. 

The union is a body primarily focussed upon establishing, upholding and defending professional standards in all aspects of work for its members, and negotiating for the same with employing bodies. It is also focused upon getting a fair deal for its members. We have yet to determine whether and with whom we may affiliate. Subs are 100 a year, and concessions are available for those who are on low or no incomes. We have as yet not decided on whether we shall affiliate or remain independent, but all of these matters will be discussed at our first meeting.

We will be holding our first meeting for members in Auckland around the end of October / beginning of November, around the time of ACC.

We have a positive, rapidly growing and enthusiastic membership at this stage. If you would like to join then please get in touch - message me, comment here, or send an email. ..."

I have no problem with church workers being unionised - they often get a bad deal about pay and conditions. But I do have an ecclesiological difficulty with the unionization of clergy.

This is the response I have posted on Facebook:

"Our collectivity is unified by our relationships to our licensing bishops. I would see belonging to the union you have proposed as an act of rebellion against my bishop. Don't sign me up!"

What do you think?

Would it be an act of clerical rebellion for licensed clergy to be unionised in a group other than one led by their bishop?

How does Title D fit into the statement about 'professional standards'? (I understand Title D to provide for those standards regarding our ministry. I also understand our bishops to be the relevant authority for upholding and maintaining them. Am I wrong?)

Is there a serious problem in our church in respect of relationships between clergy and bishops? Again, perhaps I am naive and idealistic, but a healthy church is one in which clergy and bishops work together as a college of presbyters to lead the life of the body of Christ on earth. Feeling a need to form a union is suggestive that clergy and bishops are not  working together as we ought in the fellowship of Christ.


Father Ron Smith said...

O once heard it said at a Church Mission meeting that 'God has no grand-children - only children. I wonder how that would line up with a Bride-of-Christ who was not a nun?

Peter Carrell said...

Shawn: I am prepared to publish this from your comment:

"This is a monumentally stupid idea. Will clergy who sign up for it go on strike? What will that mean for parish work?"

The remainder of your post needs to be directed directly to the Social Justice Commissioner. It would take more time than I have available to referee any ensuing arguments if I published your frank views here.