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Church News

Norwich to decrease number of paid clergy due to falling income

by Cara Bentley

The Anglican Diocese of Norwich will not seek to replace retiring clergy or those wanting to move elsewhere as it cuts back ten per cent of roles. 

The Diocese aims to reduce the number of paid clergy by 15 posts over the next three years but do not plan to make anyone redundant, saying a significant number are over 60. 

Priority will be given to place vicars in areas of deprivation and high population and there may even be new appointments in areas where both those factors are at play but where they currently only have one paid member of staff.

The need to cut back is due to a significant shortfall in how much the Diocese is getting from churches in their 'Parish Share' - a contribution made by each parish to the wider diocese which funds clergy and central services. 

In a document on the deployment of clergy, the Diocese said Covid-19 also played a role: "These pressures have been made much worse by the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, such that the most optimistic projection of the shortfall in income for 2020 is in the region of £1.5 million - the most pessimistic being closer to £3 million."

A review into deployment is being led by Rt Rev Alan Winton, Bishop of Thetford, who has called for "honest conversation, prayerful reflection and hopeful action."

The Diocese also has the highest number of medieval church buildings in the country and the second largest number of church buildings of any diocese, which are an increasing burden. With fewer clergy, there will also need to be a reduction in the number of church buildings that remain in regular use for worship, with some buildings designated as 'Festival Churches' where they are not required for regular worship but remain a local asset. 

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