Welcome to Clergy Wellbeing
“I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.”
The pitfalls of ministry are many and various and when the going gets tough there is almost always a personal cost both to ourselves and those amongst whom our lives are set. The Apostle’s frustration is rooted in an honest self-understanding, a recognition that alone we will adopt unhealthy or misconceived ways of living that take us away from the person God yearns for us to be.
Wellbeing is not an add on. Wellbeing is not an optional extra for those who have the time. Wellbeing is not a matter for people less busy than us. Wellbeing is a Gospel value, for it is about choosing to be the person God intends, indeed yearns for us to be… to have life and life in all its fullness. Taking wellbeing seriously is a non negotiable part of our ministerial lives if we are to flourish as God’s people and for those who have made ordination vows, live them out with integrity.
You will find here resources to help you do that. They are intentionally diverse, as not everything will speak to everyone and they are not the solution to anyone’s problems in themselves, but a starting point offered to help each of us in our different contexts take responsibility for our own wellbeing.
There will be, as we progress, information, signposting to guidance, shared experiences so that hopefully we may all get a sense that we are not alone when dealing with these issues, problem solving kits and perhaps most importantly contact details so you may pick up the phone or press the send button on an email and get the help you need and get it quickly.
You will notice there is also a section for you to make contact and tell us what you think is lacking here. This is really important. We are unashamed in these pages being constantly under review, so that we may all receive assistance and appropriate advice in a quickly changing ministerial environment.
Who ‘we’ are:
The Interim Clergy Wellbeing Group:
Fr. Julian Hollywell
Revd Alicia Dring
Diocesan Counselling Co-ordinator
0775 4113 462 (mobile signal poor)
Easing out of the pandemic
A number of resources that might help you and your congregations
Lament: a few suggestions encouraging us personally and collectively to take the need for lament seriously as a healthy response to all that we are still going through.
St. Luke’s Virtual Wellbeing Papers
The St. Luke’s papers were issued on a regular basis through the first lockdown in 2020. In one sense they therefore relate closely to that time, but they are still relevant, containing much wisdom, advice and insight. Although written for September 2020 the paper entitled ‘Easing out of Lockdown’ is still current in its advice.
They are helpful at a personal level, but could also be used in a range of other settings.
Meditation on lament [PDF]
Here be dragons [PDF]
Understanding the body [PDF]
Use of the scriptures [PDF]
Creating a safe space (PDF)
Easing out of lockdown (PDF)
Pastoral Care of the Clergy and their Families
If you are referencing this because you think you might need help of some kind, please pick up the phone and talk to one of the team (or email or text).
If you think counselling might help, you can self-refer by phoning Sheila Pigott.
Please read on and think about what might work for you.
There is a free counselling service available to all clergy and their immediate families in this diocese, which if you are struggling, could be of significant value to you personally. We offer individual and couples counselling and counselling for the children of the clergy.
The service provides a safe and confidential space to unpack any sort of emotional distress, whether it is from relationships inside or outside of the family, or issues related to your working ministry that just aren’t working at all well. Maybe you have experience some losses and bereavement, depression and anxiety, a sense of loss of vocation, or anything else that is getting you down and is draining your energy and good will.
Please contact me by phone or email so that I can start the process of placing you with one of our experienced, qualified and accredited counsellors near to you. The Diocese of Derby pays in full for eight sessions of professional counselling which is completely confidential.
Over the years, many of the clergy and their family members in the diocese have used this service, so please don’t feel that you must soldier on alone, or that you are the only one who cannot manage sometimes. Others have benefited enormously from the private and confidential support that counselling provides. This service is here for you too so please get in touch.
My good wishes
Coordinator: Derby Diocese Clergy Counselling Service
MBACP Senior Accredited Psychotherapist and Supervisor
Telephone: 01433 639641
Mobile: 0775 4113 462
Wellbeing snapshot: The Wellbeing Map
This is a useful tool that you could use on your own or with others, maybe every 6 months or so.
It might re-assure, it might indicate a need for further support or input and help you target specific things.
Further sources of support
The following CofE document offers information and contact details for a range of organisations offering support and advice across a range of wellbeing scenarios and situations.
Tools to help you thrive
Both Pastoral Supervision and Spiritual Direction are strongly recommended for all Clergy as part of the Clergy Wellbeing Covenant.
Pastoral supervision provides a safe and confidential space to be supervised or to ‘look over’ pastoral ministry with another person who is experienced and trained in this specialised service. Along with spiritual direction and counselling, this is another valuable resource in support of your ministry.
Living Ministry suggests 6 principles to help you THRIVE in ministry (written with specific reference to the pandemic, but based around excellent principles for ministry in any situation)
Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing
The Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing was made an Act of Synod at the February 2020 Group of Sessions of the General Synod. The Covenant is the expressed view of the mind of the Church of England on issues relating to clergy care and wellbeing.
“Our vision is that the work of supporting clergy in their ministry will become an integral part of the life of the Church and part of the DNA of every aspect of our mission and ministry.”
Revd Canon Simon Butler, Head of the Clergy Covenant Working Group
At this time, please follow this link to the national website to find out more.
If you would like to read the main document behind the Covenant (GS 2072 Clergy Wellbeing) you can access it here.
The Church of England has initiated a ‘Big Conversation’ around Clergy Wellbeing and is encouraging all of us to take part. There are three resource papers to help encourage reflection and action available here.
They are not long, but do ask some searching questions of us as clergy, of the local church and of our Bishops and the wider Church.
Information for Churchwardens on Clergy Wellbeing
Take some ‘Time out’
Please feel free to use any of these resources if you find yourself in need of a quiet space and something to help you reflect.
Sometimes the last thing we feel we can do is take ‘Time Out’. However, it is often one of the most helpful things to do. We suggest the following to make it more likely to happen:
- Decide when your ‘Time Out’ will be and how long it will last.
- Mark that time and space in your diary so that it stands along-side meetings and other commitments as equally important allocated time.
- Resist the temptation to move it, shorten it, delete it all together as other demands are made on you and your time.
Get in touch
As we’ve already said, please use any of the numbers and/or emails above to get in touch, especially if you need help and support.
Please also drop us an email if there is information missing from here that you, or others, would find helpful. There are a couple of areas ‘in the pipeline’ that should be on the page soon but you know better than us what would be of benefit to you.
The Interim Clergy Wellbeing Team.