Share page 
You are here: Home Mission and ministry Clergy Wellbeing

Mental Health and Wellbeing

 

I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 

John 10:10 (NRSV)

 

Abundant life - another translation is life in all its’ fullness - physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing is a high priority for us in Peterborough Diocese.

The Bishop of Brixworth, Rt Rev John Holbrook, heads up a Mental Health Working Group within the diocese which was formed in 2020. Within the group of clergy and lay people we have several members who hold a Mental Health First Aid Course, as well as those who work professionally within the field of mental health.

Part of our purpose is to raise awareness and reduce stigma within the Diocese. Many people are still reluctant to admit to struggling with their mental health and this is especially true for Christians. The truth is that any one of us might need a little extra help and support and this is no reflection on our faith.

We have rolled out teaching to our curates and resourced our clergy with presentations to the various chapter meetings. All of our clergy have been provided with resources that they can use and links to organisations working within this field to assist them in their work and we are working on ways to expand our scope now to also equip our lay ministers and our congregations.

Our hope is that every deanery will have people within it who will continue to keep the subject of mental wellbeing high on the agenda.

In January 2021 we encouraged all of the churches within the diocese to mark Wellbeing Sunday. We produced a range of liturgical resources and sermon ideas in partnership with the national charity Action For Happiness. Uptake was high across the diocese and we plan for this to become an annual event.

As part of our efforts to equip the people of God we hope to offer Mental Health First Aid training via one of our members who is a qualified trainer. We will also be setting up a Fellowship of MHFA to support those who are trained.

As we emerge from the shadow of coronavirus we anticipate that mental health difficulties will be an issue for many more of us and as a presence in every community the church is well placed to support those who are struggling.

If you would like to know more about the work of the MH Working Group please get in contact with:

The Reverend Canon Tim Alban Jones
T: 01733 562492
E: tim.albanjones@peterborough-diocese.org.uk
Bishop's Lodging, The Palace, Peterborough PE1 1YA


Useful links

Action for Happiness www.actionforhappiness.org

Mind and Soul Foundation www.mindandsoulfoundation.org

Sanctuary Mental Health have developed an eight week course for churches.
Sanctuary Mental Health - Equipping the Church to support mental health and wellbeing. www.sanctuarymentalhealth.org


Clergy Wellbeing

Self care is never a selfish act,
it is simply good stewardship of the only  gift I have,
the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.

Parker Palmer

 

Clergy wellbeing is an important subject.

It is not something that is optional, or a niche subject for certain people, or something that happens when the diary is less packed.

As a diocese we encourage our clergy to look after their physical, mental and spiritual health by putting healthy systems of work, rest and play in place.  All clergy are encouraged to take regular holidays, retreats and quiet days, as well as marking a sabbath.

However, we are realistic to know that clergy wellbeing is not just a matter of good self care. At times the pressures of ministry might become too heavy to bear and any one of us might appreciate a listening ear, some counselling or advice.

If you would like a confidential conversation we have an officer who is dedicated to the Pastoral Care of Clergy and their families. He has access to a number of counsellors with different specialties. He is also available for confidential, one off conversations, obviously within safeguarding limitations..

Rev Canon Nicholas Gandy OGS

nicholas.gandy@btinternet.com


Helpful links

St Lukes Hospital for the Clergy www.stlukesforclergy.org.uk

St Lukes Hospital have developed a whole range of resources for clergy, including some to help during the Covid-19 crisis.

The Society of Mary and Martha at Sheldon offer a confidential support hub and retreat for ministers in crisis. www.sheldon.uk.com


The Clergy Covenant

The Covenant for Clergy Care and Wellbeing was made an Act of Synod at the February 2020 Group of Sessions of the General Synod. The Covenant seeks to embed better pastoral care for clergy and to support them at every stage of their ministry.

Further reading and information is available here:
www.churchofengland.org/resources/clergy-resources/national-clergy-hr/supporting-clergy-health-and-wellbeing/covenant