Readers may remember that I posted in some depth (for me at least) at the end of last year about the Channel 4 programme ‘Priest Idol’. Well, the Vicar who came out of the programme looking out of touch and old fashioned, David Nicholson has now written an article explaining how the programme got it wrong. It is, as he says, yesterdays news, but it is still fairly interesting to hear a different perspective.
He talks about the additional help that the new vicar Father James was given which made it an unfair playing field:
What the programme failed to tell us is that the diocese placed what they call a ‘Turn Around’ team of eight people into the parish to help Fr James, people who have been seconded from their own parishes for two years. What the diocese also did was to reduce the Parish Share from £7500 to £1400.
Then about his own portrayal in the programme:
The TV company managed to portray me as a bit of a dinosaur – but they failed to come to Cudworth to film our Mass here where we have a vibrant and robust congregation of all ages, rather than giving the impression that I had been moved to another parish. I always had this as well – daily Mass, three schools, up to 100 funerals a year, 70+ baptisms, around 20 weddings, a parish which this year paid its Parish Share of £33,000 by August! Hardly the picture that came across.
The parish share, for those who are infamiliar with the Anglican church, is the bit of money each parish pays which goes towards paying vicars, pensions and the central church organisational setup like Bishops and so on. It seems odd to focus on the ability to pay the parish share as a mark of a churches success or lack of, but I suppose it is an indicator of some sort.
I respect anyone who can take 100 funerals in a year, I really do. I suspect many Vicars do this many or more.
See all my posts about Priest Idol if that sort of thing interests you.