In February 2021, Diocesan Synod called on churches to adopt the Covenant, put it into action, and discuss how they can support clergy care and wellbeing.
PCCs are asked to report on their progress at their 2022 APCM and Deanery Synods are also asked to feedback to Diocesan Synod later on in 2022.
The Revd Keith James, Director of Ministry for the Diocese, explains more about the Covenant and how to put it into action.
Ordained ministry can be a most rewarding calling and role. At the same time, it can also contain many difficulties and demands.
The Covenant starts from a belief that:
- Ensuring clergy are supported enables the ministry of the whole church and care of others;
- Christian pastoral care is ‘encouragement’ rather than ‘demand’;
- Ministerial effectiveness depends on healthy, trusting relationships.
The Covenant also asks the local and wider church to have a ‘big conversation’ on how best to support clergy wellbeing.
How we go about this will be as varied as our clergy and churches, but here are some questions for reflection, to begin:
- How do our clergy know that we care for them and value them?
- What are the demands they experience?
- What ‘boundaries’ do clergy need to help them work and rest?
- What support might their partner/family need?
Many of the issues connected to our wellbeing are deeply personal and so such questions need handling with great care, kindness, and sensitivity – just as St Paul suggests, ‘As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.’ (Col 3.12)
There are a series of resources on our website for these sorts of conversations, together with the document ‘Clergy care and wellbeing and the local church’ which has been developed as a tool for reflection and a template to be adapted by parishes as appropriate.