Clergy in the diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island have formed a professional association aimed at promoting clergy well-being and collegiality, supporting continuing education and informing the public about issues related to ministry.The idea has been percolating for about four years and although participants at one point talked to a couple of labour unions, the Association of Professional Anglican Clergy is not a union, said Rev. Randy Townsend, rector of St. John’s church in Halifax and a board member of the association.Paid membership ($35 per year in dues) currently totals 18 and about 25 other priests have expressed interest, he said. The diocese has 115 active clergy.The organization grew out of “clergy wellness” initiatives begun by diocesan bishop Fred Hiltz and is intended to complement diocesan structures, Mr. Townsend said. When asked why clergy felt they needed to move outside existing structures, he commented that they are “often institutional and top-down – ‘This is what we have prescribed for you; this is who is going to come speak to you,’ but it’s not necessarily what we want.” Mr. Townsend said. “We are taking responsibility for ourselves,” he added.