Unite: Church of England job policies ‘not transparent’
Well, why not? It is a bandwagon much favoured by just about everyone else.
It strikes Cranmer that it is difficult to demand transparency when God works in mysterious ways.
But the self-styled ‘Union for Life’ says the church lacks even ‘basic procedures’ such as job descriptions. Apparently, its 2,500 ‘faith workers’ have a right to rely on more than faith in their employment.
Cranmer can think of one or two bishops who might certainly benefit from a job description.
Unite’s Rachael Maskell observes: “...the Church of England is introducing a range of new clergy terms of service policies, which include a capability procedure and ministerial development reviews. And yet there is no appointment process, which is remotely transparent, to judge someone's capability to do the job in the first place.
"If there is a work-related problem with a member of the clergy, the capability policy will only kick-in if the church deems that there is a problem with that individual. This clearly begs the question whether that member of the clergy was capable of doing their job when they were appointed.
"The Church of England argues that it is too busy to address the issue of appointments. Unite believes that it should do this first of all, before drafting capability procedures. At present, what is proposed is ‘a cart before the horse’ exercise which is clearly unsatisfactory.”
Is it not profoundly sad that what used to be a matter of vocation, of seeking God, of prime ministerial recommendation and royal appointment, has been reduced to such mundane issues as ‘capability procedures’ and ‘equality legislation’?
There is a sense in which Unite’s defence of the rights of its ‘faith workers’ is admirable. For the trade union movement was founded upon the Christian faith, when ‘faith workers’ consisted of all of those who laboured for five days a week and went to church or chapel on Sundays. But now the church has become simply another employer. It is no longer God at the top, but reams of red tape and legislation, directives and guidelines – a mountain of protection which would have ensured a handsome payout of compensation to the family of Thomas Becket. Being assassinated in Canterbury Cathedral must be, at the very least, a breach of health and safety regulations.
For Cranmer, faith is being sure of what is hoped for and certain of what is not seen. Treating faith as real and tangible, with rights and regulations, is to negate the very concept.