I was rather surprised to hear about the experiences of my friend Spike who is a Reader in the Church of England. A Reader, for those who have not come across the species before is a lay (not ordained) person who has been given training and can preach, lead services and often do things like take funerals, visiting etc. They work hard for no pay and without them the church would cease to function. (The website for Readers in the Church of England is here.)
Spike was asked to fill in a form for the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau), which just about everyone doing voluntary work these days has to do. He filled one in and sent it to the Diocese, who then lost it along with (he thinks) all the other CRB forms from Readers in the Diocese. He then procrasinated a bit doing the replacement form. This is not uncommon. I have some forms unfilled in which should have been done months or years ago. Eventually the deadline came but Spike’s form was too late.
This is the odd bit. Instead of being suspended from his post until his form was completed as might seem reasonable Spike has been given a permanent suspension from duties as a Reader within the parish he has served at for 10 years. If he now wants to continue his ministry as a Reader he must start from scratch in a new parish somewhere else.
All because of a form not being handed in on time. Unbelievable.