A while back I covered at a couple of churches in a local team ministry whilst the team rector was in hospital. When the rector returned to work she sent me a really snotty email stating that she would only use me to cover services "in an emergency" because there were plenty of retired priests who were only too happy to offer their services for nothing? I emailed her back telling her that I charged the £24.50 (not a fortune by any means) per service because I was an unemployed stipendiary priest. I also explained to her that I had been sacked by the Church of England because I had suffered from depression so severe that I needed treatment in hospital. I never heard back from her.
I have just discovered that the rector who would not help a person who was unemployed because of past mental illness is the chair of a local charity that exists to promote mental wellbeing. On the about page on their website it states the following:
"County Durham and Darlington have some of the highest levels of worklessness, with mental health cited as the number one cause. The practical activities will allow participants to remove themselves from familiar and anxiety-making surroundings. By focussing on a new practical challenge, participants will improve their confidence and self-esteem. We use the local natural environment to support physical, mental & emotional wellbeing and encourage participation as a pathway to physical activity and as an antidote to social isolation."
The priest I am referring to is a shameless hypocrite but she is not unusual in a church where charity is seen as a stepping stone to a top job in the church, celebrity and even a cathedral canonship rather than something one does quietly and conscientiously because we were created in the image of God.