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UK clergies without jobs as financial crisis hits church

world Updated: May 31, 2009 22:17 IST
Church of England

The worst economic downturn in decades has forced the Church of England to turn away clergies for the first time in history after billion of pounds of its investments were wiped out in the financial crisis.

Graduates of theological colleges will miss out on their ordination next month and may end up on the dole as there are no parish jobs for them.

Rev Richard Turnbull, of Oxford’s Wycliffe Hall, described the jobs crisis a "tragedy and a travesty". "At the moment they are very distressed. They are still confident in God but they are losing confidence in the Church," he was quoted as saying by the Mail online on Sunday.

A spending squeeze has been introduced after the Church Commissioners, who manage the Church’s 5.7 billion pounds assets, announced it lost 1.3 billion pounds last year as share and property holdings plunged, the report in the British tabloid said.

Earlier, the Church has given all graduates placements in parishes as curates, which they need before they can become ordained as priests.

Rev Turnbull said the Church had already spent about 30,000 pounds training each single student and at least 60,000 pounds for married students on three-year residential courses. Those unplaced may be left unemployed while they wait to see if other jobs.

An official Church report in January into the effects of the downturn urged wealthy parishioners to put more into the collection plate, the report said.