Associate Ministers

by Michael Ford last modified 11 May, 2018 12:13 PM

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Associate Ministers serve part- or full-time as deacons or priests without payment from the Church (although they are entitled to claim certain expenses they incur in the exercise of their ministry).

Workplace Ministry

Some Associate Ministers feel called by God to witness to the truth of the Christian faith in the workplace. In the diocese of Salisbury there are Associate Clergy working as doctors and nurses, teachers, engineers, IT consultants, managers and in other sorts of paid employment. These clergy (sometimes called Ministers in Secular Employment) witness to the reality of God and the life of faith to their work colleagues and those whom they encounter in the course of employment. 

They do not normally exercise a formal ministry of word and sacrament in the workplace. Rather, their ministry is to help their colleagues and others to perceive and know the presence of God in the world generally and in the world of work in particular, and so to travel with them on the journey of faith and discipleship.

This is a relatively new and demanding form of ministry, which is attracting steadily growing numbers of Associate Clergy. In addition to their commitment to their workplaces they are normally attached to a local Church as unpaid members of ministry teams. In addition to their ministry at work, most offer themselves to lead worship and preach on one or more Sundays a month, according to the demands of their family and working lives.

Local ministry

There are also Associate Ministers whose personal circumstances enable them to minister in local parishes on an unpaid, part-time or full-time basis. Usually serving as members of local ministry teams, these Associate Clergy share in the traditional pattern of parish ministry: leading Sunday and weekday services, preaching, taking baptisms, weddings and funerals, preparing candidates for confirmation, doing pastoral work and assisting with parish administration.

All Associate Clergy have a Ministry Agreement, drawn up with the assistance of the Associate Ministry Support Officer for the Archdeaconry in which they live. The Agreement sets out the pattern of ministry the Associate Minister is able to commit to, given the demands of family life, secular work (if appropriate), time for study, spiritual refreshment and leisure, so that Church and the Associate Minister have a clear understanding of the pattern of ministry he or she expects (and is expected) to fulfil.

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