Ordained self-supporting ministry represents a flexible and creative ministry within and beyond the parish. Ordained self-supporting ministers (OSSMs) play an exciting and increasingly key part within today’s church. Selection, training and ordination are identical to stipendiary clergy. The training route recognises the particularities of most self-supporting candidates who continue with other work and home responsibilities alongside training. A notable percentage of clergy in Bath and Wells are self-supporting so minister without a stipend. As ordained deacons and priests, they are called to represent the church in the wider world and lead, with stipendiary colleagues and others in shared local ministry, the church’s mission and ministry through worship and prayer, preaching and teaching, community engagement and pastoral work.
OSSMs fulfil this calling in the church and in the wider world of paid or voluntary work or home responsibilities. They may serve in parishes in their locality or further afield and do so full or part-time depending on their availability and other commitments. OSSMs are not ‘part-time’ priests: their priestly, ministerial vocation is exercised in all areas of their life, but their parish ministry may be part-time. After curacy, their unique responsibilities are set out in a personal working agreement between them and their incumbent. A diocesan template link for an agreement can be found below. The working agreement should be prepared after reading the accompanying guidance.
The diocese has appointed an adviser for each archdeaconry who offer support and encouragement to OSSMs and in particular to:
- hear the views of SSMs on their own experience of ministry
- support and inform appropriate Diocesan Officers with responsibility for the deployment, development and pastoral care of SSMs
- advise on the selection, training and development needs of SSMs
- act as listeners and facilitators should any difficulties arise in an individual SSM’s ministry
- promote theological reflection on self-supporting ministry within the diocese
- contribute to national research and conversations about self-supporting ministry
Who to contact
In vacancy, SSMA for Bath Archdeaconry