Submitted by george.somers@… on

Becca, her husband and three sons live in Cornwall. Having a car is vital to thriving in her rural ministry, raising her children and moving between the four parishes and five churches she serves, alongside a curate and enthusiastic Worship Leaders.

We spoke with Becca about how important it is to be able to stay on the move, her volunteering with a charity that helps parents with young children, and the support she's received from her diocese and Clergy Support Trust. We also learned about how her trusty car saved a wedding from potential disaster...

Becca, wearing a light blue cardigan. She is sat at a table, drinking a cup of tea, looking out of the window.

"We would love to only need one car, but in rural life, it's just not possible."

"I've got three teenage boys. The youngest plays football, the eldest plays rugby, all of them play cricket. I can't get to church without a car, and our boys can't have a social life without a car.

In rural ministry with a family, you need two cars on the road, and we're often grabbing lifts off other people as well. In lots of jobs, you get a business car, but that isn't available at all for clergy.

Last year, we had a really unfortunate year. Some rings went on the engine, which meant it was leaking water, and the mechanic took ages to identify it. Apparently, it is one of those things that just takes a long time, and in the meantime, we blew a thermostat and the water pump. That's when we came to the Trust for help."

Asking for help

"I always have regular check-in phone calls from my Bishop. He hasn't always managed to speak to me, but he always leaves a message: "just calling you to see how you are" kind of thing. The odd bunch of flowers or potted plant when things were particularly bad, with a really cute note that just made me smile and felt like a really personal thing.

I feel comfortable asking my Bishop for pastoral support, absolutely, but not for financial support. There have been one or two times when I've thought "I'm sure the Bishop would be able to help with that", but I just don't know how to ask it.

I've felt uncomfortable in the past asking my parents for financial help, because it makes me feel like a failure. It feels like I've messed up. Whereas Clergy Support Trust understands that there can be this financial gap, and they understand the stress that financial issues can cause."

Coming to a bride's rescue... in a Vauxhall Zafira

"Once, I did a wedding blessing, and the verger and I had been invited to the reception afterwards. We're about to drive over to where the reception was, and there's the bride, the bridesmaid and the bridesmaid's daughter, stood on the side of the road opposite the church.

Everyone had gone to the reception and forgotten them! So, I was the wedding car for the bride that day and took them across to the reception."

"Baby Basics is a network of baby banks, and we cover the whole of Cornwall. There have been many occasions where I've put the seats down and taken several Moses baskets, prams and bags down to Treliske Hospital to deliver to midwives to pass on to families.

It's been vitally important for Baby Basics for me to have a decent car that I can transport large amounts of goods around the county in."

Becca, wearing a light blue cardigan, sat inside a red car, with the window open.

What would you say to someone thinking of applying to Clergy Support Trust?

"Just do it. The money is there for you, the criteria is really generous and there's a recognition that there are particular stresses and pressures on our life.

For example, we do need a holiday away from the vicarage every year, it's really important to get that family time. There's a recognition that we can't just keep dipping into our savings all the time in order to afford those things we need.

The Trust wants to plug the gap so we don't carry that stress, so we can do our job. I think that messaging is really powerful, and that's what makes it easy for me to apply every time."

We are privileged to help hundreds of households with the cost of emergency repairs, insurance and MOTs. Last year, we provided over £645,000 in grants to support Anglican clergy, and their families, with car-related costs. This is a 41% growth on the previous year.

See how we can help you below, or if you feel able, how you can help us.

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