Dear friends and supporters,
Hello and welcome to our 2023 Autumn newsletter. We have been very busy this year and have much to update you on. If you already follow us on social media you will know that we have continued to deliver exceptional preventive workshops and services—including a fantastic project working with the British Army and expanded the fundraising team. Alongside this we have provided psychological support to clergy and their families, with an increase of 68% on requests. This is an exceptional increase and in order to continue supporting clergy we need your help.
In this issue:
Why St Luke's?
We think it is safe to say that we all experience moments of anxiety and stress. Those times when we just want to walk away from it all in order to find time to soothe our tired and weary soul. We may take a ‘duvet day’ or plan ahead to ensure the weekend is as easy as it can be.
But for clergy who are at the heart of the community this is not often a viable option. The nature of their work is to be there for others in the good times and the bad, to be a support for others when the world seems too much.
This giving and being present for others doesn’t take into account the monumental energy that it can be required these days to be a parent, partner and carer as well.
Here at St Luke’s we understand the joys and challenges of ministry. We actively promote a culture across the Church that recognises that clergy wellbeing is key to successful ministry and flourishing mission. We want to collaborate with all dioceses to establish preventive initiatives which support clergy from the beginning of their theological journey right through ministry and into retirement. Prevention is better (and easier, and cheaper!) than cure.
Our website contains lots of information to help you, or someone you may know, through difficult times. Please do have a browse.
Hello & Goodbye
Since our last newsletter we have experienced changes in the team at St Luke’s.
It was with a very heavy heart that St Luke’s said farewell to the wonderful Honorary Consultants at a reception held at the unique and historic Mercers’ Hall, London in November. The evening began with a very special Service of Thanksgiving in the Chapel, officiated by Bishop Michael Colclough, followed by a celebratory supper and speeches. St Luke’s Chairman, Edward Martineau, gave heartfelt thanks to the many Consultants who have given their time and expertise free of charge for many years; without their loyal support St Luke’s would not have been able to deliver exceptional physical health care to so many clergy and their families over the years.
We also used this opportunity to say goodbye to the person at the heart of St Luke’s – Hazel Adams. Hazel worked for 25 years as our Medical Secretary, responding to phone calls and emails with her professional and empathetic manner. We were further indebted to Hazel when she returned ‘Once more unto the breach’ and came out of retirement to help us throughout the pandemic as we searched for a new replacement. We finally welcomed Dawn Lewis, who has continued to organise our medical referrals with kindness and professionalism.
There have been more changes within our Trustee board, saying farewell to Philip Arundel and Tony Simkin. Philip and Tony have given years of valuable service to St Luke’s and been instrumental in ensuring that St Luke’s is the focused, forward-looking charity it is today.
We also say – welcome aboard – to John Nugée, Bishop Tim Thornton and Graeme Pollard, all of whom are brilliant additions to our board. They add further to the knowledge and skills needed to ensure that St Luke’s continues to meet the evolving needs of clergy for many years to come.
To meet the demand for additional income to support more beneficiaries and fund new wellbeing initiatives we have new faces on the fundraising team: Tess Thorpe, Director of Philanthropy and Lucy McDonald, Individual Giving Fundraiser. You may have already had a communication from them as they are keen to get to know St Luke’s supporters.
Both are experienced in all aspects of fundraising and have joined St Luke’s to create an ambitious and innovative fundraising strategy… more about that later!
At St Luke’s we are very fortunate to work with some of the best global experts in the field of mental health and wellbeing. Our partnerships with them create unique and meaningful workshops and services promoting good mental health tailored to the context and needs of the clergy.
Alongside our partners we have designed an ambitious array of initiatives which we will continue to implement over the next three years. These are intended to provide a variety of wellbeing services to reach the greatest number of clergy. Our menu of resources are available on our website here Wellbeing menu – St Luke’s (stlukesforclergy.org.uk) or contact our wellbeing manager for details of how St Luke’s can help.
By concentrating all our resources on improving the mental health and psychological wellbeing of clergy we are responding to a growing demand. Stopping our physical support for clergy was a difficult decision but the increasing need for psychological help was pressing. Since making that hard decision last year we have seen a 68% uplift in referrals for mental help support.
Friends, Focus & Fundraising
It costs St Luke’s around £400,000 each year to meet the needs of the clergy and their families for mental health care and wellbeing initiatives. This year St Luke’s has seen a staggering uplift in the need for well-being support from the clergy.
All our activities are entirely funded by our brilliant and loyal supporters, who for over 130 years have enabled St Luke’s to be the experts in clergy wellbeing. To coincide with St Luke’s Day in October and in line with the ethos of our charity, we have created a unique campaign which we hope will help you prioritise time for yourself as well as raise funds for St Luke’s. It’s a kind of ‘help us to help you to help others’ thing!
Because unless you have a particularly amazing pension package, we will all be working until we are 128, so we really can’t afford to put off looking after our well-being, doing things that makes us happy, until we retire. And even if you are retired you know you have never been busier as your family and friends call upon you to look after grandchildren, dogs, help with DIY, pick up prescriptions/shopping or left behind coats, cables, kids (!) etc…
So what are we suggesting? Putting #YouFirst!
We are asking you to pick up forgotten hobbies or start to attend to that bucket list of ‘if only I had more time I would << insert YOUR wish here>>’. But we understand this idea of #YouFirst doesn’t rest easy even if a happy you would lift others. So to help you on your way we are asking that family and friends support you in your endeavours with well wishes, encouragement and a donation to St Luke’s!
What next? Sit and think about what you would like to do: start painting again, set off along the Camino de Santiago or dust off your tap shoes. Let us know what you want to achieve and we can help you set up a JustGiving page, give you support on our social media and cheer you along as you proceed with your chosen #YouFirst activity.
We also want to create a group of #YouFirst champions, where we support each other and celebrate our achievements together.
If you want to sign up before October and be part of the #YouFirst launch, please get in touch with Lucy– Lucy.McDonald@stlukesforclergy.org.uk – we will be thrilled that you are helping St Luke’s and prioritising your happiness for a change! We will be officially launching to coincide with St Luke’s week so look out for more details!
Finally – St Luke’s for Clergy Wellbeing will be at Godolphin School as part of the Diocese of Salisbury’s Ministry Day on the 16th of October.
Don’t be a stranger – come and say hello!
We hope you have enjoyed reading our newsletter and want to get involved with St Luke’s! Here are the many ways we would like you to help us:
- Share this newsletter / link with your friends and colleagues
- Ask your PCC to support us with an annual gift – How your parish could help us – St Luke’s (stlukesforclergy.org.uk)
- Follow us on social media
- Become a St Luke’s Friend by setting up a regular gift Donate – St Luke’s (stlukesforclergy.org.uk)
- Sign up here for #YouFirst