Nova Scotia to review unpaid priests

By on November 1, 2002

Bishop Fred Hiltz of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island will stop ordaining non-stipendiary priests pending the outcome of a diocesan review.

?We?re at the 10-year mark (with non-stipendiary priests) and it?s appropriate to look at where we are, where we?ve been and where we are going with it,? he said. ?I basically said I would not accept any new candidates while we were going through this process.? He said he expects a report for synod in May.

Bishop Hiltz noted that expectations for non-stipendiary priests are different than for paid clergy. ?Many are self-supporting, have jobs, with limited time. Their ministry finds expression in the liturgy, and some aspect of parish life,? he said.

Non-stipendiary clergy are trained differently than stipendiary priests in his diocese, he added. Training includes a mix of the education for ministry program as well as certificate programs of the Atlantic School of Theology. After taking courses, candidates for non-stipendiary clergy status have to follow a reading and ?formation? program.

Difficulties can arise, Bishop Hiltz said, when a priest is moved and the new rector must work with a non-stipendiary priest who is already in place and had developed a strong working relationship with his or her predecessor.

?Non-stipendiaries are locally raised,? he said. ?Rectors come and go, while the non-stipendiary stays.? He added: ?The new person must be prepared to work as a team with the non-stipendiary. Generally they understand, support and uphold one another. That?s not to say that we haven?t have some challenges.?

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