7th June 2019

Taste and see: trying out reflective practice

Interested in St Luke’s Reflective Practice Groups for your diocese or yourself, but not quite sure what you’re in for? Our RPG Adviser Jan Korris explains why ‘taster’ sessions are a great way to check out reflective practice

How do I try a RPG taster session?

These sessions are requested by a diocese and may be offered to clergy in different ways – by general invitation, or to those in certain roles, maybe first-time incumbents. The invitation to individuals comes from St Luke’s key contact in the diocese, usually someone from ministry division, an archdeacon etc. Sometimes the taster is preceded by my being invited to present the philosophy and practice of RPGs to the diocesan bishop and senior team.

How long is a taster session?

Tasters can be a standalone half-day session or, increasingly, follow on from clergy attending St Luke’s half-day Resilience Workshop.

Is this kind of support something few clergy have experienced?

Absolutely! Sometimes they have done some small group work during training or have a cell group they meet with occasionally, but little else.

What topics do you look at? 

The session is experiential with plenty of exercises and group involvement. It’s very pacey – areas covered include the theological and psychological imperative of reflecting upon ministerial practice, and the importance of self-care and wellbeing as the quality of ministry is only as good as the one who ministers. We acknowledge the ‘many hats’ worn in the role of parish clergy and the importance of recognising transference, counter-transference and projection. We look at mind sets and perception, managing difficult conversations and conflict. Most of all perhaps, the importance of creating healthy boundaries in support of long-term flourishing ministry. All this is the DNA of what happens in ‘real’ RPGs.

Why do you think taster sessions are useful? 

The session is run to encourage clergy to consider the importance of reflecting upon their practice and not operating in isolation. We want them to recognise that this practice is seen as both normal and essential in most other helping professions. We hope that the taster is a quality piece of training in itself but for those who may go on to participate in a two-year group, it gives a clear understanding of what is involved and the commitment required to receive the benefits of the discipline.

Why does St Luke’s invest in supporting dioceses to run RPGs?

We see RPGs as a valuable service that meets the needs of both diocese and clergy and furthers the charity’s vision of flourishing, healthy clergy. RPGs support the wellbeing of individual clergy and they trust the independence and confidentiality of the facilitator, who is appointed by St Luke’s. The diocese recognises that best practice is enhanced by this form of ‘pastoral supervision’ and St Luke’s provides a tried and tested model to prevent them having to reinvent the wheel.

How do I book a taster session with St Luke’s?

Ask your Director of Ministry if one is on offer and if not, why not?!