Self Supporting Ministers

“Because he was of the same trade, Paul stayed with them and they worked together – by trade they were tentmakers” Acts 18:3

Much as we would rather not define our ministries in terms of remuneration, until someone comes up with a snappier title, ‘self-supporting’ seems the best of the rest as a way to identify those of us who work in a priestly ministry but receive no salary from the Church of England.

What is Self-Supporting Ministry?

In the Diocese of Worcester, just over a quarter of our fully ordained priests are self-supporting.

As a recognised calling in the Church of England and under a variety of titles, a priestly ministry offered by those who receive no payment from the Church of England has been around for more than 50 years.

Self-supporting minsters may continue in their paid employment, may be retired on a pension or be financially supported by their partner. 

Those who offer this ministry receive the same training and qualification as those who work in stipendiary (salaried) posts. Although some train full-time, the development of self-supporting ministry has been facilitated by the availability of ministerial training courses that are part-time.

As with all part-time professionals, the progression of responsibility towards increased authority is harder and access to more senior roles more difficult. There are some self-supporting ministers who are incumbent, some who are area deans and some who are diocesan officers, and there is some flexibility in movement between paid and unpaid roles within the church in parish, in the Cathedral and in the Diocesan administration.

What do we do?

At the moment there are 30 of us around the Diocese of Worcester. Most of us work in parishes fulfilling a priestly ministry of leading worship and prayer, offering pastoral care, preaching and teaching in the same way as our stipendiary colleagues. The main difference seems to be that we don’t have the admin responsibilities and we don’t exercise the same level of parochial authority.

There is also a significant group among us for whom the primary focus of their ministry is at work. As with any form of chaplaincy, the role is what you make it given the constraints of your workplace.


For more information about Self Supporting Ministry in the Diocese of Worcester contact:

The Revd Alex Vaccaro, Dean of NSM/MSE

Catch up with three of us talking about what our ministry means to us:


Page last updated: Friday 30th December 2022 12:26 PM
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