Stressed-out Anglican priests turn to trade unions for support

Source: Religion News Service

LONDON (RNS) — The archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion, was an oil executive who helped run a major corporation before he became a parish priest.

The latter job was unquestionably the most stressful he ever had, Justin Welby has said.

“It was isolated, insatiably demanding, and I was, on the whole, working without close colleagues.” The role is, “for many, quite overwhelming and exhausting,” he said.

This kind of pressure may well explain why increasing numbers of his priests in the Church of England are seeking help outside the church for their problems. Faced with demanding congregations, rarely being off duty, piles of paperwork and disciplinary procedures they often feel are unfair, priests are turning instead to trade unions for support.

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