Ad clerum on Clergy Wellbeing
You did not choose me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.
As we prepare for Advent, our own wellbeing, and that of our fellow clergy, should not be forgotten at such a busy time for all involved in ministry. All of us in Christian Ministry have a duty to look after ourselves as well as others, modelling personal care and flourishing. The Church and its structures, including the Diocese, share in those responsibilities.
As you may be aware, General Synod debated clergy wellbeing in July 2017. Since then, a Clergy Wellbeing Working Group has been established to look at the change in culture required to address more fully the care and wellbeing of clergy. The Working Group has now invited all clergy to comment on its draft paper, ‘A Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing’. I encourage all of you to read the document and consider how you may respond. Responses should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and the closing date is 31st December 2018.
The Group describes the consultation as follows:
The draft document sets out some ways of changing the culture of the Church to enable the care and wellbeing of its clergy to be more fully addressed. Individual situations – while important – can’t really be addressed as part of this consultation, but we hope what is proposed should contribute to a preventative, shared, coordinated and pragmatic culture change across the Church of England.
You are invited to comment on the document focussing in particular on the Report’s proposals in respect of:
- The text of the Covenant;
- The Shared Commitments of the minister, local church and the office of the bishop as laid out in Section B and the Big Conversation that arises;
- The focus on pastoral supervision and reflective practice;
- Ways of embedding good practice and holy habits through training in IME 1-7;
- Liturgical recognition of clergy wellbeing in licensing services;
- More effective use of Ministerial Development Reviews;
- Other ways of sharing best practice.
The Clergy Wellbeing Working Group is very keen to engage in discussion around the Draft Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing. The Sheldon Hub is an independent interdenominational online community for doing healthy ministry together. The Hub team are kindly hosting space for discussions of the Draft Covenant in the Associate (Research & Development Lab) area of the Sheldon Hub. Clergy and their spouses are eligible for Ministry membership, and people who train, support and work alongside them are eligible for Associate membership. This is a secure site to enable appropriate privacy for these discussions. Hub membership is free, and you may be asked to provide evidence of your role as part of the application process. Find out more on their website.
This consultation is not the right mechanism for clergy seeking immediate support. While you may contact your Area Bishop, Archdeacon, Area Director of Training and Development or Area Dean for support and guidance, the Diocese also offers a free, independent web service and hotline number, the Employee and Clergy Assistance Programme. This gives you access to trained professionals, offering confidential help. Should an individual need further assistance they can be referred to a lawyer, nurse, doctor or other professionals according to specific requirements.
Details are available on our website here:
The freephone number is: 0800 030 5182.
I hope that many of you will join us in the conversation on clergy wellbeing, in the first instance by reading and responding to the consultation. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like to discuss any aspect of this important subject.
The Revd Prebendary Dr Neil Evans
Director of Ministry