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Any clergy out there - need advice.

(13 Posts)
3andahalfmonkeys Sat 27-Jun-09 14:03:46

DH has decided he would like to be a vicar. Anyone out there with any advice on what it is like for wife/family? would just like thoughts on what we are heading for? x

Clockface Sat 27-Jun-09 15:33:39

Wow, that's a big decision!

I can speak as one who's just been accepted for ordiantion training, and has been doing church work for the last year. My observations include;

It can actually be a really positive thing for children. Mine have grown up in church (dd came back to the vicarage we were house-sitting for when she was born and that set the tone). They are very flexible, very used to being part of a wider community, god at relating to adults who are not their relatives and to children of different ages and abilities to themselves, use to standing up at the front and showing what they've made in Sunday school etc. So socailly and in terms of confidence-building they have got a lot out of our church involvement.

For my dh, there is a cost - of me being out in the evenings, of Sundays being very busy, of phone calls about ministry issues. I think though tbh there are fewer expectations on him as a 'ministry husband' than there are on a potential vicar's wife. When I start trainng, he will carry on in his job nad no-one would expect him to give up and run the toddlers' group in the same way that they might for a woman.

The way we've handled this year has been negotiation and communication all the wa, and also a fairly robust safeguarding of our own time as a family so that we get what we need. Tbh we've started being more intentional about spending or time together well as a family, so we've actually had more quality time even though I've been out more (iyswim). For me, I've had a limit of how many evenings I will make myself availble per week, and if I'm asked to do more than that, I simply say no. Because ultimately, I need my family and they need me too.

Does that help at all?

3andahalfmonkeys Mon 29-Jun-09 09:28:53

That does help thanks.
It has been coming for a while i think. He feels he has been 'called'. It will be a while yet before anything happens. I suppose I am just worried about dc - ds1 is starting school this september and seems so settled that we had talked about when he went to college I would stay here but our vicar says no - we need to go together. So I am worried about moving then, then 2 years later for curacy then possibly again 2 years later iyswim.

AMumInScotland Mon 29-Jun-09 09:57:46

Some people do go to theological college without their family, for those sorts of a lot. Your husband will be going through a process where he's changing and growing a lot, and I think it helps if you're there with him to bounce ideas around as they come up, rather than only hearing about what's been happening at the weekend.

Some colleges will also have a good setup for spouses, with opportunities to go to classes and be as involved as you have the time for, family permitting. You'll also have the chance to be in contact with other spouses going through the same thing, which helps you to see what it's like for other people too.

My DS is no longer working in the church, but we were at college together while he did his ordination training, and it was a major learning experience for me as well as him.

Parish life is also very much a "team effort" as it's certainly not a 9 to 5 job where you leave it behind when you come home. It has its good and bad sides, but a major part of his curacy training should be about how you set up your work/life balance to work well for your own situation, so you shouldn't be left to struggle.

AMumInScotland Mon 29-Jun-09 09:59:49

Lost of chunk of a sentence there....

Some people do go to theological college without their family, for those sorts of reasons, but I think they miss out on a lot.

3andahalfmonkeys Tue 30-Jun-09 09:48:36

thank you

I suppose it is just because I never in my wildest dreams saw my dh as a vicar so am taking time to come to terms with it. I think i am worrying that it will be detrimental to dc moving every couple of years.

growingup Tue 30-Jun-09 10:30:39

Message withdrawn

MadHairDay Wed 01-Jul-09 21:06:41

Hi 3andahalfmonkeys.
My dh started his curacy a year ago, so I have some insight into what you could possibly be facing if this does go ahead for you. We went away to training college as a family and it was brilliant. The dcs had a wonderful time, they loved the whole community thing and their confidence grew so much through moving away and finding new friends and new horizons. It was hard, but good.
Moving then to the curacy was hard. But we all had this great assurance that we were going to the right place, the dcs included, they kind of got in on the excitement of it all. They quickly settled and made friends here, and really love the life of church and all the social things around it. We also have so many friends all over the country now and get to visit them which gives the dcs great opportunities and enjoyment.
I have another insight into it all being that I'm a vicar's kid myself. Yes, moving every few years was hard. But it was great too, and I wouldn't have had it any other way. I learned about so many different cultures and places and ways of doing things, I learned to make friends wherever I went, and saw some great stuff happen too.
I can understand your worry that it will be detrimental to the dc, and also it must be a bit of a shock for you if it is something you never expected. Give yourself some time to come round to the idea, talk to more clergy spouses if possible. If he is only just exploring now it is a long way ahead and you'll have the opportunity to explore how you feel about it all.
I'd say my dc are more confident, well rounded and generally happy for the experience. We are all excited about the future and now and though there are really, really tough times in it all it is so worth it.
Hope this helps somewhat. Any questions I would be happy to have a stab at answering.

3andahalfmonkeys Sun 05-Jul-09 08:43:38

He's been to see the DDO's. They are contacting him in about 3 weeks to see how he feels about it all so it's early days yet. He has the support of the Vicar, the Curate and the Reader (who is also training to be a non stipendary Vicar).

Where did you go for theological training? What was your thoughts on the college etc?

One thing that is concerning DH is although he is quite intelligent, he isn't particularly academic, he joined the army after school into a technician trade and now works as an engineer for a communications company but he says all of the skills he has are practical 'hands on' rather than actual academic learning. I think he is worried about this.

MaryBS Sun 05-Jul-09 09:05:26

My vicar is the same, intelligent, but not academic. Prior to training he was a lorry driver. He is an excellent vicar, and people think he's down to earth and interesting, especially those who DON'T go to church

3andahalfmonkeys Sun 05-Jul-09 22:19:22

bump x

MadHairDay Mon 06-Jul-09 13:10:52

Hi again,

we went to a college in the midlands (won't mention name as want to remain kind of anonymous!!) - CAT me if you want to know more.
There were loads of 'non-academic' peeps on the course - they all did fine, I don't think he needs to have worries there.
Good luck!!

AMumInScotland Mon 06-Jul-09 13:37:01

Hi - colleges have different "vibes", and some may suit you more than others - hopefully you'll get a chance to go together to look at them and get a feel for where you'll be best able to develop. Theological colleges are all there to train people for ministry - and since God doesn't discriminate on the basis of previous academic experience, they will all be used to a range of different kinds of people - some of the people there will be used to studying, and some like your DH will not have done much since school. The college will be able to suggest which of their courses would suit him best, and make sure he can get the best out of his time in training.

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