Allocating time: the unit system

Part time ministry needs to be compared with a full time ministry.

As with some other professional workers it is unrealistic to consider a full time parish ministry as an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 40-hour week. For example, a part time teacher may be defined in half days in relation to a five day week so that a "point four" teacher might work four mornings a week. When preparation time is added this will be more than three hours per morning.

In determining what stipend is to be offered, a Board of Nomination needs to be aware of the current basic stipend and if a part time minister is being sought, what proportion of the stipend it intends to offer in the terms of call. It follows that the terms of call will need to define the proportion of time that will be expected. This section describes an acceptable method of defining time.

In many parishes, a unit system is adopted in which a unit is either one morning, one afternoon, or one evening. Any one of these units could be longer or shorter than a half day worked by a person employed for 40 hours or five days per week. On this basis the expectations for a full time ordained parish ministry would be for 12 units per week (around 48 hours) or 48 units per month. Thus a parish seeking half time ministry should reckon on a total of 24 units per month.

This takes into account the need for flexibility of timetabling for such activities as counselling for funerals, and participation in weekend or evening commitments. Thus one week might be five regular days plus two evenings. Time over that is regarded as a gift to the parish.

An advantage of this method is that there can be flexibility from week to week so that over a month or four week period there is a chance to compensate for unusually heavy commitments in a particular week. It also allows for a part time minister to work in concentrated blocks of time over a longer period rather than work in a day by day piecemeal fashion.