Why would the clergy join a trade union?

Why would they do that? Surely the church is a model employer?

If only… churches try their best, but they are very human institutions.

Church structures may have good professional guidance on employment practice but just as often, they may not, with important decisions relating to pay, pensions, national insurance, or fair practice when difficulties arise.

This is no criticism of church structures, but rather a recognition of the lived experience of many clergy who day-by-day, give of their best to serve God, to follow Christ and to serve their communities.

So why join a union?

A compelling reason is get access to top quality, advice, support and guidance.

To have someone who can explain what is, or is not, good employment practice – or in the case of ‘office holders’ – what action may, or may not be considered acceptable. You join a union because your faith requires that you treat others fairly. You join a union because you faith requires you make a stand for social justice. You join a union because you want to encourage highest, rather than lowest, standards in our vocation (and yes, it is and will always be a calling).

Your union needs to recognise that faith workers are called to serve others with care, compassion and professionalism even if – at the same time – those very individuals are not themselves are being well-served. Even if the church is hurting you, you are still called to help those your community who are hurting. Not easy, but that is the reality.

Your union has to get that – and Community does.

The Kingdom of God will have many manifestations – but it will include a better working world.

Finally, unions themselves have their origins with and through the actions of people of faith.

Secular trade unionists might want to remember the ‘Tolpuddle Martyrs’. Those Methodist pioneers of our movement.

So by being in a union, in this union, we also remind our trade union sisters and brothers, that faith workers, clergy and others, and not alien to the trade union movement but have always been and will be an essential part of the movement’s DNA.

For all these reasons and more, it is fitting to be a member of Community Union.

Faith in the Union? Of course. Faith demands no less.

An Easter Prayer for Community Union

Eternal God and Loving Father
We come to you in Prayer

We remember the example of your Son
Jesus Christ, our Lord
His sacrificial love for all people
His death and resurrection
The triumph of Your love

Let us also love one another
After Christ’s great example
All people, in rich and wonderful diversity
To love them all, as we would ourselves

Help us to stand for social justice
In our lives, and in our communities
And through this union, our union, Community too
For where there is care, where there is compassion and where there is solidarity
Your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ is there. Amen.

If you are a member of Community and need help or advice, please contact us at help@community-tu.org or on 0800 389 6332.

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