For many years now I have heard people bemoan the lack of clergy, I have heard how charges have had to be linked because there just aren’t enough clerics, how charges with an interregnum have to go without a cleric for Sundays as there just aren’t any spare ones around. In the late 1980′s when I was exploring my vocation I remember being told that by the turn of the century there would only be one cleric for each region.
Well today, 10 years after such reckoning would have been fulfilled, there were certainly more than 8 clergy in the Cathedral for the Chrism Mass to renew their ordination vows as the oils were blessed. By my reckoning there were also at least a dozen who weren’t present, yes some of them were retired and I think they deserve their retirement. However there were still enough to have one cleric for each charge in the diocese with spares.
So were all the predictions and cries of not enough clergy inaccurate, well it would appear not on the surface, but on the ground it would appear they are, for despite the copious albs and white stoles not every charge does have its own cleric, charges go through interregnums with no celebration of the Eucharist - even on feast days, sole clerics travel miles in the Galloway region to take services and nearer to Glasgow I am not alone in celebrating in more than one church each Sunday.
I would love to be able to go back to those gloom mongers of the late 80′s and say, ‘You were wrong, the church is thriving there are clerics aplenty to do the Lord’s work in each of the congregations.’ I would love to, and today told me I should be able to, but I can’t for today is the day of the Chrism Conundrum.