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Would You Take a “Demotion”? – I Did

Talking about “hierarchy” in the Church can be a bit of a taboo. But if we were to use that language, then at the end of 2020, I took voluntary “demotion”. In this post I describe what happened, and in the next post I’ll begin to reflect on what I learned.

Since 2013 I’d been working as the diocesan Director of Ministry, with responsibility for recruitment, training and wellbeing for people in ministry – both ordained and lay. This meant that I served on various committees, councils and working groups, as well as attending the Bishop’s Staff Meeting. It was an interesting and strategic job.

However, in 2020 Covid arrived. This put a strain on diocesan finances. As a result, it was decided that we couldn’t make an appointment to the vacant DDO (Diocesan Director of Ordinands) position. As Director of Ministry, I was asked to find some other way to cover that work.

For some weeks, I wrestled with what do to. Then, early one bright September day during Morning Prayer at the Cathedral, a thought suddenly came to me. I could fill the vacancy. I could step down from my post to work in the Vocations Team. Of course, this would only work if diocesan colleagues were able to take on my other responsibilities. A period of consultation followed, and it was decided that my proposal was workable.

So, at the start of December 2020, I laid down my responsibilities for training, wellbeing and the strategic oversight of ministry, to begin my new role working with ordination candidates. In fact, this wasn’t the first time my job had reduced in size! A few years previously, with a change of staffing, I’d already passed on responsibility for the oversight of parish development and youth and children’s work.

This recent “demotion” has been interesting and eye-opening move. In my next post I’ll reflect on what I’ve learned.

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