Bishops Officer for Self-Supporting Ministry
Rev John Lees is the Bishop’s Officer for Self-Supporting Ministry. John’s role includes supporting SSM vocations as well as informing diocesan policy.
John may be contacted here. He undertakes this role on a nominal 0.2 voluntary basis.
The abbreviation SSM (Self Supporting Minister) describes clergy licensed to Mission Communities who do not receive a stipend. SSMs include Curates and Associate Priests, clergy working in sectoral roles, and Ministers in Secular Employment (MSE). Some colleagues work on less than a full stipend and offer some of their work on an SSM basis. Normally retired clergy and full-time Chaplains would not be considered as SSMs.
Across the Church of England, clergy historically termed as ‘non-stipendiary’ are growing in number. All Dioceses are aware that they have a responsibility to allocate resources to the appropriate selection, development, support and review of SSMs. Many struggle to provide these services at a level which reflects the growing contribution of SSMs to the life of the Church. Here in the Diocese of Exeter, we have encouraged the growth of SSM ministry in recent years. We currently have79 SSMs and a number of people in house for duty situations. But we continue to aspire to see an increase in the number of SSMs. The Diocese acknowledges that these colleagues will make a significant contribution to the culture of the Church. In particular, we do not want to see SSM ministry as simply a means for getting clergy ‘on the cheap’. We recognize the diversity of model of SSM ministry and welcome the fact that some continue to be engaged in secular employment.