This work explores the origins and development of the clergy using a variety of sources and insights from thinkers such as Darwin and Foucault. Martyn Percy, journalist, author, Principal of Ripon College, Cuddesdon and Anglican Priest takes a serious but often humorous look at how the role of clergy has evolved over the years. This is a lively and engaging study including anecdotes and familiar cultural references such as the influence of the Vicar of Dibley on public perceptions of the clergy and a discussion of clerical dress. Keen to dispel romantic notions of the clergy Percy's study is informed by personal experience and the practical realities of being a parish priest. To encourage his readers to a new way of thinking about theologies of ministry in relation to their context and environment he examines three arenas: changing nature of clerical identity; role of the culture as an agent of change; and the function of churches, denominations and congregations as resistors and accomodators of cultural change. Percy's conclusion is that to survive the clergy need to adapt to their cultural environment whilst at the same time retaining a certain distance.
Martyn Percy is Principal, Ripon College, Cuddesdon, UK. From 1997-2004 he was Director of the Lincoln Theological Institute for the Study of Religion and Society. Martyn has recently been appointed honorary Professor at King's College, London, UK, and also holds an Adjunct Professorship of Theology and Ministry at Hartford Seminary, Connecticut, USA.
Introduction; 1. On Reflection; 2. On Origins; 3. On Development; 4. On Praxis; 5. On Survival; 6. On Ministry; Coda; Bibliography; Index.