Clergy wellbeing and self-care: questions and discussion points

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“For those interested in exploring and discussing clergy wellbeing and self-care, the Church of England’s ‘Document for Reflection and Action for the Clergy’ is practical, easy to read, concise and comprehensive,” says Executive Director of PMC Dr Stephen Harrison in his summary of this recently released paper

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Last year the Church of England committed to the landmark ‘Covenant for Clergy Care and Well-Being’ (p.5) as an Act of Synod, agreeing to “undertake to work together to coordinate and improve our approach to clergy care and wellbeing so that the whole Church may flourish in the service of the mission of God.”

A number of resources were recently released to help embed the Covenant across the Church of England, including a document:

This post will summarise the ‘Document for Reflection and Action for the Clergy’, which was developed for clergy to help them consider and discuss their own wellbeing and self-care, and will address the following key areas:

Reflecting on our baptismal and ministerial calling

The ministry of a clergy person is “relational, collegial, professional and accountable to others” and in order to fulfill their baptismal and ministerial calling, clergy are encouraged to:

A number of questions are suggested in this section, including:

Reflecting on looking after yourself and others

As clergy provide and receive guidance and pastoral care, they are encouraged to take care of their health and fitness in order to promote necessary resilience. This means that clergy are advised to:

Some of the helpful questions raised in this section, include:

Reflecting on being a public figure

Due to the nature of their calling and associated activities, clergy are always in the public eye. Thus, it is suggested that clergy:

In light of this, some of the suggested questions clergy may ponder include:

Reflecting on you and your household

Given the nature of clergy ministry, spouses and other household members of clergy likewise need support and encouragement from the church. Thus, ordained minsters are encouraged to:

As such, clergy are encouraged to think about the following questions:

For those interested in exploring and discussing clergy wellbeing and self-care, the Church of England’s ‘Document for Reflection and Action for the Clergy’ is practical, easy to read, concise and comprehensive. It is written and formatted in a way that is conducive to pragmatic discussions with other clergy, Episcopal leaders, parish council representatives and clergy spouses and family members.

If you would like to explore the important area of clergy wellbeing and self-care in more detail, you can download a Church of England General Synod commissioned paper, which was written following extensive consultation with clergy and lay people across the United Kingdom.

First published on the faithful + effective website on 11 August 2020.

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