A work in progress
The roll out of the Clergy Review Process will enhance our shared diocesan life, says Bishop Joanna
I have been asked to write a little about well-being, the Clergy Review Process and how the diocese supports clergy. There is a common thread: it is all a work in progress.
I am extremely grateful to Canon Rhiannon and the team of reviewers who have worked immensely hard to roll out this first Clergy Review for some years. I hope it will become useful in helping clergy develop their ministerial skills. It’s important to see it not as something being done to a person but a tool offered to help someone hone their skills and develop their ministerial passions. I hope that as we build on this, we will ask laity what they look for from their parish priests and ensure we have a budget to give clergy the training and support they require. We aren’t there yet but it’s good we’ve made a start.
Covid, coming soon after the formation of LMAs, has made it difficult for lay officers and clergy, already hard pressed. Financial pressures led to the formation of LMAs and, while some clergy have thrived working alongside colleagues, others have found it difficult. Learning to use the new software package intended to help with LMA finances has brought its own challenges to many of our loyal and hard- working treasurers, who were doing an excellent job with pen and paper.
The Archdeacons work very hard in supporting clergy and officers, as do the Diocesan Secretary and his team, helping clergy and treasurers in financial and administrative matters. Revd Shirley Murphy has put together a section on the diocesan website where you can find details of all sorts of different types of organisations offering support to clergy and Dawn Evans is always at the end of the phone or email.
Covid, personal and interpersonal stresses and stresses in our Church roles all affect our well-being. Being aware of what helps us get by, what helps us thrive, is key. It is vital to learn how to say no and how to let go. We know that God does not wave a magic wand to make troubles disappear. We all know suffering in our lives but we also know that God hears and answers our prayers (and if you don’t, try it!). Remember the words in Deuteronomy, “The eternal God is your dwelling place and underneath are the everlasting arms” (33v27) and let us as a diocese learn to make God our home.