Celebrating 60 years of Self Supporting Ordained Ministers (SSOMs)

In the last few weeks in the Church of England, we have been celebrating 60 years of Self Supporting Ordained Ministers (SSOMs). In September, there was a national celebration at Southwark Cathedral where Caroline, Paul and Pauline represented SSOMs from the Diocese of Leicester.

After eating together, sharing stories and discussing our different ministries, the group moved through to the church and enjoyed a moving eucharist together.

Pauline Cummins, Associate Priest in the Benefice of Broughton Astley and Croft with Stoney Stanton, said: "As a self-supporting ordained priest I am supported spiritually by the community that I serve and monetarily by my spouse. That enables me to be fully focused on being missional in God’s Kingdom and that is a gift that I can give and a blessing that I receive".

About three in ten licensed clergy in the Church of England are self-supporting. Some give most of their time to ministry after careers in other sectors. Around half  sustain themselves in work outside the church, following in the “tentmaking” tradition of Paul and Barnabas. Many (including Ministers in Secular Employment) consider the workplace to be their main focus of ministry.

This variety means not all SSOMs may recognise themselves as such. So, there are plans to hold a follow-up event early next year to proactively explore how we better discern, train, support and develop Self-Supporting Ordained ministers in the Diocese of Leicester.

Some initial resources for SSOM ministry will be added to the Hub in the next few weeks, so keep an eye on Diomail for more details.

First published on: 10th November 2023
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