Self-Supporting Ministers (SSMs) are ordained, licensed clergy.
- SSMs generally offer their ministry on an unpaid basis (that is to say they do not receive a stipend) and would typically hold a Bishop's Licence as perhaps an Associate Priest or a Curate, although this is does vary. Clergy with Permission to Officiate (such as many retired clergy) are not generally considered to be SSMs.
- SSMs (with some limited exemptions) are also able to claim a fee from the Diocese for taking weddings and funerals. This is not the case for other types on non-stipendiary clergy - so it is not the case that by not receiving a stipend, someone who is ordained automatically falls into the group of what are known as SSMs.
Ways to be a Self-Supporting Minister (SSM)
- There are as many ways to be a Self-Supporting Minister (SSM). Some work full time in ministry, either in a parish context or elsewhere, some are part-time in the parish but may also have another significant commitment (caring for family members, voluntary work, etc), others have a full-time commitment outside of the church and can only take part in services and parish activities at weekends or in the evenings.
Self-Supporting Ministry Working Agreement
- All SSMs need to have a Working Agreement, which makes clear what the commitment they can offer is and ensures that they have some time off.
- SSMs are entitled to a Statement of Particulars, setting out the terms of their contract with the Diocese. SSMs who are licensed to a parish, but have a significant working context, also need to be supported by their parish. Whatever the details of an SSMs working life are, they are united as priests wherever they are doing.
- You can download the Self-Supporting Ministry Working Agreement here. (Please note, this Agreement is currently being revised to include all SSMs, not just Curates, and this will be published once available).
- If you are a Self Supporting Minister and wish to speak to someone in the Diocesan office about a matter relating to you SSM role, please in the first instance email the Mission and Ministry team (clicking here) who will be able to direct your query accordingly.
- The National Network of SSM Officers and Advisers provides guidance and advice for SMMs, you can view their website here.