When Penny King told her university friends in Canterbury that she was moving to Manchester, they were horrified. “They said ”˜you’ll get shot! You’ll get mugged! It’s depressing. It’s all grey and the weather’s awful’. ”
The perception that life is “grim up north” has greatly damaged the Church of England’s attempts to fill posts in the north, where some jobs for vicars, in both inner cities and rural outposts, have remained unfilled for some time.
King, a 28-year-old Church of England curate at St Elisabeth’s, Reddish, Machester, has become one of the poster girls for a CoE campaign to attract a young generation of male and female vicars to fill posts in deprived areas where Christian pastoral work is often most needed. She has no regrets about her move: “Manchester is no more dangerous than anywhere else,” she says. “I feel safer here living on my own as my neighbours look out for me. I’ve been welcomed with open arms.”
Her story appears on the website for Clergy North West, a campaign aimed at combating a hidden crisis in the Church of England.
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