Edmonton Area clergy study day explores wellbeing and self-care
Ninety-eight clergy from the Edmonton Area came together for a study day on the theme of clergy well-being on Tuesday 9 January, at Christ Church Cockfosters. Speakers from occupational health, biblical scholarship, scientific and theological backgrounds addressed the subject of self-care, Sabbath rest, chaos theory – that order only comes out of chaos – and resilience to help clergy reflect on their own lives and ministries. Speakers included:
- Simon Clift, an Occupational Health Physician working with Thrive Worldwide
- The Revd Dr Mark Scarlata, Tutor and Lecturer in Old Testament Studies at St. Mellitus College
- The Revd Dr Gillian Straine, Director of the Guild of Health and St Raphael
- The Revd Dr Kirsty Birkett, responsible for Learning Architecture and Educational Development, and teaches Ethics, Philosophy, and Church History at Oak Hill Theological College in London.
Alison Tsang, Just Finance officer with Capital Mass, also brought information on finance pressures that can often lead to clergy stress. The attendees followed the speeches with lively discussions of the topics. Comments about individual speakers included: “Hugely uplifting and inspiring”, “I could have listened to him for longer,” “very helpful in understanding the danger of burnout”, “really excellent theologically”, “very thought-provoking”, “good content well delivered”, “excellent material that I will reuse in many contexts”. As part of the day, the clergy present were given a well-being audit on their health, ministry and soul, with the intention that they find the time in their pressurised lives to reflect on it.
The Bishop of Edmonton, The Rt Revd Rob Wickham, said:
“Clergy flourishing and wellbeing is essential when building a Spirit-filled Church which is confident, compassionate and creative. In the Edmonton Area, our clergy are amazing in so many ways, and the Edmonton Area Refreshment Day was designed to offer a moment to reflect upon our collective responsibility to love God, ourselves and each other. We were not disappointed, and this paves the way for our clergy quiet day in February with +Robert Atwell, and our Clergy Conference in July when Professor David Ford will immerse us in John’s Gospel.”
Attendees also welcomed the time available for networking and enjoying each other’s company. Constructive feedback from the session will be utilised to improve future Study Days.