The Living Ministry research takes a mixed methods approach, drawing on both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The project follows four cohorts of clergy through ministry over an initial ten year period, via:
An online panel survey repeated every two years, with a shorter catch-up survey in the intervening years;
Individual and group discussions with about 50 ministers, returning every two years to explore in depth dynamics, processes and relationships;
Short, focussed studies on particular topics and capturing different perspectives on what it means to flourish in ministry.
Who can take part?
Anyone ordained deacon in the dioceses of the Church of England in 2006, 2011 or 2015, or who started training for ordination in 2016 can be part of Living Ministry. If you are one of these people and haven't received an invitation, please contact Bev Botting.
The project encompasses clergy in all kinds of roles, including parish priests, senior clergy, those in sector ministry, pioneers, ministers in secular employment, educators and administrators. Self-supporting, stipendiary and employed clergy are all invited, as are those who are living overseas, have permission to officiate or are nearing retirement. One of the important things for the Church to understand is how transitions into out of and within ordained ministry are experienced.
As a parish priest and a researcher I believe good data about the reality of ordained ministry is vital if we are support and develop our clergy. Healthy and happy clergy, whilst not the only factor, are a key part of effective mission and pastoral care. We need to take the guesswork out of strategies for clergy wellbeing.
Revd Preb Sarah Schofield - Archbishops' Council and Stakeholder Group Member