The next time you see a list of clerical appointments, note not just the growing total of female clergy but also the number of clergy shown as NSMs. If marginalisation lies ahead for orthodox Church folk, it could be that NSM-‘isation’ will be the role for all FiF clergy in the future.
So a few tips for the NSMs of tomorrow: whilst it would be good if your training course has given you a grasp of NT Greek, it is no longer of any practical use.
I’m suggesting that if you become an NSM you don’t need to continue with your pre-ordination job; other careers may fit in better with your FiF experience. You’ll be used to speaking persuasively, arguing FiF’s case, and then finding that no one is listening; this is ideal preparation for becoming a call-centre worker.
On the other hand there’s an area of audience communication where employment grows as rapidly as the number of NSMs: that of stand-up comedian. TV channels and theatres are now as infested with stand-ups as the Western Isles are with midges. For an Anglican cleric there is an excellent learning opportunity, if you wish to join the stand-up comedians: drop in at General Synod and watch the experts at work. Jimmy Carr, Sarah Millican, Lenny Henry? Sorry, but you’re just beginners.
If you don’t make it as a comedian, there’s still a place in entertainment. It’s a role where your clerical collar proves an advantage, but you’d better take off your FiF badge. The job? BBC parson.
The doyen is Giles Fraser, rivalling Clare Balding as the most frequently heard broadcaster. On his heels: Richard Coles. However, he began with the 1980s pop group The Communards. Grab a guitar guys.