Pastoral Care and Support of Clergy
It is vital that everybody exercising ministry has good systems of support. No-one can minister effectively for any length of time unless they are receiving ministry.
Sometimes that support has to be professional and meet specific needs. The systems described below offer a range of supportive structures which can be accessed as need arises. At Ministry Reviews, this will form part of the discussion.
Spiritual and Personal Development
Every priest/deacon/minister has certain inescapable needs which include:
- a pattern of daily prayer and reflection
- opportunities for thinking and learning
- people with whom to share the experience of ministry
- a clear and regularly reviewed understanding for the task
- easy access to trusted help in time of need
The Statement of Particulars identifies the provision for proper holidays and rest entitlement.
The 'Balint' Style Groups provide another system of support and are run by professional counsellors. These are administered by the office of Discipleship, Vocation and Ministry.
The Deanery, the Area Dean and Chapter
Clergy who work in teams, and as colleagues, have the opportunity for shared daily prayer, for study together and the mutual support which comes from conversation. Clergy who are working on their own should be encouraged to make links with neighbours and, where possible, to enable lay people to share with them in regular prayer. The Area Dean should be able to help make these links and to discuss such needs with clergy. Attendance at the meetings of the Deanery Clergy Chapter should be considered a priority for all in full-time ministry. Area Deans should also seek to make sure that some Chapter meetings every year happen at times when clergy in secular employment or secular ministry can attend.
Staff Counselling Service
The Counselling Service provides confidential counselling to support clergy and their families in times of personal difficulty. Counselling may be requested for relationship difficulty. Counselling may be requested for relationship difficulties, marriage breakdown, stress within marriage and families, personal stress related to work and / or changing life circumstances, psychological and mental health difficulties, addiction, loss and bereavement, financial difficulties, etc (a separate leaflet is issued on this subject).
A diocesan clergy spouses' group exists for the support of clergy spouses
Retired clergy are invited to attend a group led by the Bishop's Adviser for Retired Clergy.