Submitted by catherine.cashmore on Wed, 02/08/2023 - 14:04

Stephen Hogg, a trustee of Clergy Support Trust and member of General Synod, today (8 February 2023) raised the importance of financial support for clergy households at Synod’s debate on the cost-of-living crisis.

Stephen told the General Synod chamber, which included both Archbishops:

"The work done by our clergy comes at great personal cost. Some clergy are themselves facing poverty. What more could we as a Church be doing to support clergy in poverty?"

In 2022, Clergy Support Trust walked alongside almost one in five Church of England clergy, providing £4.8m in grants, £800k of which was to support clergy struggling with the cost-of-living.

Stephen explained to Synod members that the 44% increase in households supported in the last year was enabling clergy to meet basic needs:

"The massive increase in the grants being paid by Clergy Support Trust was not on luxuries; they were on repairs to cars, new washing machines, glasses... and the greatest concern of all, to cover basics like heating costs."

Clergy Support Trust has awarded more grants in the past two years than ever before, with unprecedented demand. One applicant recently told us:

“We currently only heat two rooms in the house - mine and my wife's study during the day. In the evening we just heat the living room. Our bills are extremely high, as the Vicarage has virtually no insulation and the Diocese won't make any improvements. They have also refused to help with any costs.”

More than 3,000 children live in households supported by Clergy Support Trust last year, with more than £130k provided directly to support children, funding essentials like baby equipment, school uniforms, shoes and bus passes.

Chief Executive, The Revd Ben Cahill-Nicholls, said:

“Stephen’s contribution at Synod highlights that too many clergy families are struggling to make ends meet. As Stephen said, more needs to be done so that no clergy live in poverty. The Trust has been busier year-on-year for some time, and the need we see shows no sign of decreasing. Each interaction we have with a clergy household is a privilege, and we are always here to help – but partnership solutions are needed, with the Church and Dioceses also considering seriously how they can do more.”