What can the Third Sector offer dioceses to help them implement the recommendations of the Covenant? This was the focus of St Luke’s recent Clergy Wellbeing Workshop, which drew together around 40 third sector clergy wellbeing practitioners.
St Luke’s Reflective Practice Adviser Jan Korris welcomed the fact that ‘the genie of clergy wellbeing is well and truly out of the bottle’, thanks to the Covenant and its acknowledgement that change is needed. This need for change was made clear by delegates, who cited some of the significant and ongoing stresses they were supporting clergy through, including bullying by parishioners; lack of clarity and support for the wide-ranging role of vicar; clergy children and mental health issues, and feeling pressured to stop Church decline.
Feeding back from St Luke’s summer workshop for diocesan wellbeing representatives, attended by 35 dioceses, St Luke’s Chairman Edward Martineau shared the dioceses’ expressed hopes from that session. These included wanting to work more closely with the third sector, fostering increased inter-diocesan cooperation, initiating examples of good practice and help with training for those supporting clergy wellbeing.
Breakout groups worked on ways they could support the Church in these goals and change Church culture; delegates also spoke of helping dioceses to understand the huge cost benefit that better clergy wellbeing would reap.
In closing, Edward thanked participants for their willingness to continue to work together, and for giving St Luke’s the remit to advocate on their behalf. St Luke’s plans to host a 2020 follow-up event, Edward said, ‘where we can build on the work done together to date, and support dioceses to get the Covenant recommendations in place and in practice in dioceses’.