A Guest post by my friend Revd Lesley Crawley who’s exploring clergy wellbeing. Please do take part in her survey.
Clergy wellbeing is something that has been addressed by General Synod and a Covenant of Care and Wellbeing is being suggested. The work on this will be finalised in February and then Dioceses and PCCs will be asked to take seriously their findings. In particular pastoral supervision is being recommended, as well as more realistic job descriptions and recruitment.
I have been exploring this subject whilst on my sabbatical and there are very many interesting questions that I simply haven’t the time or ability to research myself, which is why I have started a blog that I hope will enable us to continue the discussion. I have a small survey on the blog (takes less than 5 mins) – if you are in ordained parish ministry in the CofE I would be so grateful if you would fill it in.
From a personal perspective I think I have always been in an ‘employee’ mindset, I have expected support and supervision from my line manager, as well as professional development and help with difficult problems such as toxic conflicts and bullying, which have perhaps felt above my pay grade.
But the reality is we don’t have line managers as office holders, and there isn’t stuff that we can pass on because it is above our pay grade, we often aren’t paid! Consequently, perhaps far of the answer is it is up to us to take seriously our own wellbeing, if we need to rest then we should rest, if we need additional training then we need to seek it out, if we need pastoral supervision then an external body may be the place to look.
I think we need to work some of these things out together as clergy as well as determining what else is needed and speaking to our dioceses and senior clergy about that. There are so many huge stressors, I feel we can’t just carry on the way we are, but I do have hope that this is perhaps a low point and the path towards flourishing in ministry is ahead of us.