1. Ministerial pathway

A substantial induction programme is in place for all incumbents, priests-in-charge, and others taking up their first role of responsibility in London Diocese. This includes:

  • Mentoring
  • New Incumbents Residential. A five day residential which explores diocesan culture, clergy support, vision and strategy planning, UBT, and other topics.
  • Fixed meetings in the first year with the Area Bishop, Archdeacon and Area Director of Ministry
  • Induction half day meeting with Senior Leadership Team at Diocesan House
  • Expected attendance at Safeguarding, Interfaith and Engaging with Difference day courses

London Diocese has a tried and tested MDR scheme which has been running for over 20 years. The scheme includes Extended Ministerial Review, a web-based tool based on incumbency core competencies, which offers organised feedback to clergy.

Importantly, the London scheme ensures ownership of the process stays with reviewees, with clergy choosing their lay or clergy consultant from a list of trained consultants. MDR is supported by triennial Episcopal Review.

Two significant programmes are in place to assist clergy at points of transition (below), and a list of retirement resources is available online here on the Diocese’s website.

Your Next Move. A one day workshop to assist clergy in exploring the next steps in ministry. Although the day is well used by third year curates, it is open to any clergy and usually has a number of experienced clergy taking part. Further one-to-one coaching is available to those who wish to increase their confidence and skills levels in seeking new posts.

Preparing for Retirement. This three day residential is available to all licensed clergy over 58 years (and spouses) to help them consider a wide range of aspects of retirement. The residential considers physical, spiritual and psychological wellbeing in preparing for, and into retirement, as well as practical issues such as finance and housing. The residential always has a recently retired member of the clergy and a doctor as members of the core staff, and is attended by representatives of the Pensions Department and Ecclesiastical Financial Services. Clergy may sign up for the residential at any point after the age of 58 (ten years from the official retirement age) but may return for a ‘second go’ closer to retirement if this is helpful.

A great deal of emphasis in IME2 is given to wellbeing and encouraging good working / ministry practices. Regular time off, appropriate prayer time and having a good balance of time away from ministry for family, friends and self are consistent themes. Training Incumbents are also encouraged to consider these issues for themselves and for their curates as part of their training. New deacons attend bespoke training to assist them in making a good transition into their ordained ministerial role.

Bishops, archdeacons, area directors of ministry, area deans, deans of racial justice, deans of women’s ministry and the disability ministry enabler all offer significant support, encouragement and intervention to clergy. This includes time spent with individuals and groups, referrals made and financial and other resources dedicated. Further, clergy chapters, clusters, networks and individuals offer on-going support and encouragement.

There are also a wide range of formal, less formal and informal networks in operation across the Diocese (and beyond), which act as support and encouragement for clergy. These include church-tradition networks, cell groups and organisations such as Sion College.

A list of current resources, including pensions and housing information, is available online here.

2. When things go wrong

A major factor which can affect clergy wellbeing can be issues of conflict. Avoiding conflicted situations or dealing with conflict inappropriately or ineffectually can lead to a host of related challenges ranging from loss of confidence, bullying and poor performance through to ill health. As a diocese we have put a high premium on conflict resilience training.

Clergy are encouraged to engage with Bridge Builders training courses (details here), and conflict resilience is included in other training offered internally. Courses run locally include Growing Bridge Builders and Gilmore Fraleigh.

The Mediation and Reconciliation Network run by Andrew Corsie (Willesden Area Director of Ministry) offers a wide range of opportunities to develop this work, including mediation and addressing chronic conflictual situations, and includes a number of lay and clergy experts in the field. For more information, contact Andrew Corsie or read more online here.

This 24 hour counselling and advice services is provided by Health Assured, and is available for all employees of the London Diocesan Fund and all licensed clergy in the Diocese of London, plus their immediate families. It is anonymous, confidential and available by phone or online.

The ECAP operates a helpline and online health portal 24 hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days per year. The service is staffed by qualified and experienced counsellors working to the British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) framework. These trained professionals offer confidential help in a friendly and non-judgmental manner and should an individual need further assistance they can be referred to a lawyer, nurse, doctor or other professionals according to specific requirements.

The programme gives clergy access to a myriad of counselling and advice services 24 hours a day including the following:

  • Stress helpline
  • Telephone and face to face counselling
  • Serious illness and accident support
  • Tax, Financial and legal advice
  • Eldercare and childcare advice
  • Medical information.

To gain access to the programme, please call the free phone number 0800 030 5182 and state that you are from the Diocese of London.

Alternately, the service can be accessed through Health Assured’s online web portal. Please contact the LDF Human Resources team for the website login details: HRhelpdesk@london.anglican.org / 020 7932 1200

All calls are triaged and the facility includes a GP call back service if required. It also provides access to a number of key areas including emotional support; structured telephone counselling; referral to face to face counselling; referral to serious illness and accident support; tax advice and legal advice; stress helpline; eldercare and childcare and medical information. There is also a plethora of useful information and help on the online portal including health and wellbeing tools, fitness advice and online medical information.

We hope that this service will be of great benefit to our staff and all licensed clergy in the Diocese.

The Diocese’s Bullying and Harassment Policy is available here and includes information on safeguarding.

3. Spiritual Development

A number of clergy are now developing across the Diocese. Encouragement to join such groups is coming from the experience of taking part in Action Learning Sets in clergy training (eg New Incumbents Residential, Riverside Leadership Programme and Renewing Vision Renewing Ministry). This is a growing piece of work; it is encouraging to see these groups taking root. Please contact your Area Director of Ministry if you would like to join a group.

Every member of the clergy is expected to have a spiritual director or equivalent. A ‘match-making’ service is offered by the London Centre for Spiritual Direction (LCSD) to link people to potential Spiritual Directors. LCSD now has around 200 Spiritual Directors as members of its Community. LCSD hosts two training programmes for spiritual directors as well as on-going support, training and supervision.

All clergy are expected to take an annual retreat and there is a clear expectation that reasonable costs for this are met from normal ministry expenses.

 

4. Keep Learning

Through the Area Directors of Ministry, a comprehensive programme of mentoring, coaching and consultancy is offered to clergy. This includes

  • Mentoring. All new incumbents are allocated a trained mentor who is an experienced member of the clergy to walk alongside them for the first year to eighteen months in post. Mentoring is also available to any member of the clergy at any point in their ministry, in discussion with your Area Director of Ministry.
  • Coaching. Coaching by professional coaches is available on request or as an outcome of Ministerial Development Review. 3D Coaching is one of our main providers for this, but we also use a number of other professional coaches.
  • Coaching Training. Training in coaching techniques is offered (and encouraged) to senior clergy including bishops, archdeacons, directors of ministry, deans and directors of ordinands. 3D Coaching’s Transforming Conversations is used for this training
  • Consultancy. Work and ministry consultancy is available to clergy. Some of this is paid and other pro bono. Consultancy can be offered to support a particular project and for clergy who require some on-going support or assistance in ministry.

RVRM is a residential programme which has been running successfully for over 10 years, offering experienced stipendiary clergy in their 50s the opportunity to stand back and review their ministry and think positively about the next (and final) stages of stipendiary ministry. The programme was set up as a direct response to the 2006 John Lee report From Frustration to Fulfilment and has been universally well-received by participants.

The Diocese of London has been running Leadership support and development programmes since 2000. Riverside is the latest iteration and has been running successfully across the diocese since 2013. The main focus of this (and all leadership development work) is to equip clergy in their leadership ministry for the church in the 21st Century.

In partnership with the organisation HumanTalk, more than a hundred clergy across the Diocese have been trained in Mental Health First Aid. The aim is to train one person in each of our 500 or so parishes. The MHFA training aims to raise levels of awareness and understanding around mental health. It offers skills and information to assist people in understanding and helping (or getting help for) those with mental health issues. The additional benefit is that participants on the course begin to take their own mental health and wellbeing more seriously and clergy have spoken highly of the helpfulness of the training in this regard.

All licensed clergy may apply for a period of three months Study Leave after ten years in ordained ministry, and every subsequent ten years. A grant is available to support approved study leave. There is an insistence that a good amount of the three months (perhaps one month) is spend in rest and recuperation. Four financed Study Leaves are available per Episcopal Area, per year.

Common Tenure also allows for additional leave to be taken every seventh year, on top of standard leave allocation. Further, bishops may grant exceptional leave of up to three months to any member of the clergy at their discretion. For additional detail, please read through the Clergy Terms of Service, general information on study leave, and a list of available grants and expenses.

5. Physical and mental health provision

Counselling and advice: All clergy have access to a 24 hour counselling and advice service, provided by Health Assured. See full information further up this page under the heading ‘When things go wrong’.

The Stepney Area Support Scheme is available to clergy in the Stepney Episcopal Area, which uses locally based therapists and counsellors (by referral only).

St Luke’s Virtual Wellbeing Programme is updated every Monday, with all materials available to download as a PDF

St Luke’s Healthcare  – mental health support: St Luke’s supports individual clergy and their families to improve their psychological wellbeing and mental health. The people they support include:

  • Serving and retired clergy of the Anglican Communion and churches in full communion with it
  • Families of clergy – spouses or civil partners, dependent children, widows and widowers
  • Ordinands
  • Deaconesses, Church Army officers, and full-time stipendiary lay workers licensed by a bishop
  • Anglican missionaries, monks and nuns

Find out more on the St Luke’s website.

 

The excellent Sheldon Hub for clergy support and wellbeing, run by the Society of Mary and Martha, is now available for all clergy to use, free of charge. Details can be found here.

Increased emphasis on the care and upkeep of clergy houses continues to be a significant factor in improving clergy wellbeing. The initiative to install double glazing in all clergy houses is an excellent example of this, along with improved security.

There continue to be issues of vulnerability amongst clergy and their families who can receive unwanted callers and be the subject of unwanted attention where often vicarages are isolated, clearly recognisable and vulnerable. If you feel unsafe please don’t hesitate to contact your archdeacon.

The London staff have received the report Bodies of Christ: health, sport and whole-person ministry by the Revd Dr Jacqueline Cameron with Mark Balcar. The report emphasises the importance of physical wellbeing as a part of the whole picture of wellbeing for clergy and laity in the living out of the Gospel.

Issues such as inactivity (eg too much sitting), misuse of alcohol, over-eating and poor diet are noted as being major contributory factors to lack of wellbeing amongst clergy.

Dr Cameron is a core member of staff for both Renewing Vision Renewing Ministry and Preparing for Retirement, and has contributed to the Riverside Leadership Programme.

6. Clergy household support

In May of 2023, Sara Hunter, a clergy spouse in Stepney Area, started a new role within the Diocese of London as Clergy Household Support Officer. Sara is adding to the work begun by others to try and improve the support offered to clergy spouses and partners in the whole diocese.

Find out more on the clergy household support webpage. 

Bishop’s Visitor’s: If you are the spouse or partner of a member of clergy and you are going through a divorce or partnership dissolution, there is someone provided by the bishop – a Bishop’s Visitor – to support you. Their role is not to give advice. It is, however, to be alongside you as you identify your needs at this challenging and distressing time, and to signpost you to various sources of support. If you would like to be put in touch with a Bishop’s Visitor on a confidential basis, please use the following email address to request such support: bishops.visitors@london.anglican.org