This is a recording of MadPriest's archdeacon and some bloke from the UNITE union talking about clergy bullying on Radio Newcastle this morning.

The archdeacon does a reasonable job of the interview, bearing in mind that if he said anything negative about the bishop he would probably end up in a victim support group himself. Also, and I've said this to his face, he comes across as incredibly nice and I'm not convinced that he realises just how nasty and conniving not nice people can be. But, overall, I've known a lot worse and he doesn't say anything here that patronises the parish clergy, as some of the "senior staff" in other dioceses have done this week. Also, he wasn't in the diocese, seven years ago when certain people tried to persuade me to resign because I had been poorly and he was not one of the people who forced unfair terms of employment on me (unfair according to the legal department of the Disability Rights Commission). And, contrary to popular opinion in some quarters, people don't have to earn my respect - they get my respect from the off and keep it unless they let me down big time.

Perhaps when Bishop Alan is Archbishop of Canterbury I'll persuade him to give my archdeacon a cushy job as one of his suffragans or something.

Unfortunately, my archdeacon doesn't always realise when I am joking so there is the possibility that this will be my last post having been "taken out" by a diocesan hit man - and I don't mean down the pub.



  1. If you get taken out, let’s hope Bishop Alan will be on the case:-)
    And you really ought to stop talking about him as future Archbishop, the more we praise him the more we ruin any chance the poor man might have.

  2. Believe me, Erika, if i had even the slightest suspicion that somebody like Bishop Alan could end up becoming ABC, I would take your advice. As it is, I fear we can joke about it as much as we like.

    Hey, Erika! Did you like the reverse psychology there? Now that I said that the powers that be won’t make him ABC they are going to have to just to prove me wrong. A cunning plan, eh?

  3. “Unfortunately, my archdeacon doesn’t always realise when I am joking…” Hmmmmm… so it’s not just a trans-Atlantic problem then.

  4. “warts and all”

    Treasure in earthen vessels, eh?


    Say, so is it still cool if every so often I turn up to receive Eucharist but I don’t formally join for a while? I hope *that* isn’t a form of bullying.

    I guess I’m not entirely clear on what constitutes layperson bullying of clergy. Enlighten me, please?

  5. Tracie,

    bullying of clergy is like this: I arrive in the office on the first day of assuming my position as rector of a church in a diocese far away from where I am now, and the patriarch comes in, sits down, and before I even do my first thing as the priest there, he threatens me if I ever fire the secretary and the threats continue for the duration.

    Bullying of clergy is like this: the organist choirmaster is insubbordinate with the dean of the cathedral. He plays on the maternal instincts of the mothers of the choristers and turns the choir against the dean. He teaches them to stand up in church during the sermon and throw invectives at the preacher. They go to the altar rail, then stand there with arms folded refusing to receive communion from the hand of the dean. The music master encourages all this and the people go along with it.

    Bullying of clergy is like this: A parish calls a new priest, they take against the priest right away and instruct the bishop to remove him so he does. They take against the next priest as well and get him removed. They take against the third priest as well and this time the bishop puts his foot down and says you don’t get any more priests until you learn to live with this one.

    You may assume that the priests and the dean are doing something wrong. Priests and deans get lots of things wrong. But there are congregations out there made up of individually lovely people who as a mass constitute what are known as priest killers. The best bet is to let them have a Sunday chaplain and let them do whatever they want to during the rest of the week and they’ll be happy as clams – maybe.

  6. Dear Tracie, I never once thought it was at all you which is why I replied – so you would know it for sure, that you’re no such thing as a bully.

    Bless you, Tracie the Red.

  7. Oh, don’t you believe it, Lois. She bullies poor Joe something rotten. But then it is the lot of us love sick male fools to be taken advantage of – always has been.

  8. Not isolated incidents, Erika.

    And MP, will that’s an entirely different matter. If only men would bother to learn the rules – even though they’re not in print and you don’t know about them until you break one – your lives would be much easier.

  9. Ha! I have probably spent more time in gay bars and clubs than you have, my friend. And I don’t think I’ve ever drunk six pints in one session in my life.

  10. Every Diocese needs 3 A grade people:


    Sometimes a type A personality is appointed to do all three jobs simultaneously 😉

  11. Our numbers are down but frankly most of the toxic people have left for the local ACNA congregation. I hope that we finally can begin healing and moving forward without the unhappiness these people brought. May God protect them on their pilgrimage.