Friday, 23 March 2007

A job for life? (Hysterical laughter)

When I started my theological training I remember my Director of Ordinands saying to me, "You'll have a job for life, and the church will look after you to the end." This was just before they shafted me over the loss of my home. I was asked if I could find accommodation for the holidays whilst I was studying, and I said that I could go back to my parents. The deal was, if you give up securing your own future to work in the church, the church will provide for your future. Consequently I moved out of my little, comfortable, flat, put my belongings into storage, and for the next two years lived a nomadic lifestyle either in College "digs" or back in the parental nest. It wasn't until a couple of years later that I learnt that if I had said "No" to the question about holiday accommodation, the church would have paid the rental on my flat whilst I was in training. It still rankles.

Then as my second licensed post came to an end in 1996 I found myself still in the process of making applications for a new one. The Bishop refused to extend my licence, and I ended up down at the Employment Exchange drawing the "dole". They didn't have a category for an Anglican clergyman, so I had to be registered as a "Methodist minister". Well, I'm all for ecumenicalism. But so much for the promise of "a job for life!".

Now there's a revision of pension arrangements underway. From the time of my ordination in 1984 I have been aware that the church required 37 years of service to get the full pension. I knew that if I worked to the age of 69 I would just scrape in under the 70 years obligatory retirement level and get my full pension. But things are changing. The proposals are going forward that 40 years of service are required for a full pension. So I'm cut out of it. I shall never get the full entitlement as the goal posts have been moved. And what rubs salt into the wound is that the letter that accompanied this bit of news came with a response sheet since they wished to "consult" all the clergy before it went to General Synod. "Consult" be buggered. Their minds are made up, and this is nothing more than a political move so that they can say that we have been asked about the changes, and I said so on my reply form. What a waste of time, energy, effort and paper.

And then there's the lack of having any sort of stake in the housing market ....

Time for a very large Bacardi and coke.

1 comment:

  1. A bitter pill to swallow, and we know one swallow does not make a summer - even a summer of disconten!