'Big Conversation' on clergy wellbeing launched

(Photo: Facebook/Church of England)

Church of England clergy are being encouraged to share their views on how greater care can be taken of their health and wellbeing. 

Three documents published on Wednesday as part of the 'Big Conversation' outline the principles of the Covenant for Clergy and Wellbeing approved by the General Synod earlier this year. 

The covenant commits all parts of the Church of England to taking shared responsibility for the welfare of ministers and their families. 

The Church will be reflecting on the covenant and clergy wellbeing over the next two years, as it moves to implement a range of measures developed by the Working Group that drew up the document. 

These include promoting awareness of stress and burnout in clergy training, and the expansion of coaching and mentoring schemes for ministers.

In the pipeline for later this year are resources to guide conversations around the covenant.

Rev Canon Simon Butler, who headed the Working Group, said he hoped the 'Big Conversation' would encourage debate across the Church about clergy wellbeing.

"The care and wellbeing of the clergy is crucial to the health of the Church at worship, in mission, and in pastoral care," he said.

"Recent experience of the Covid-19 pandemic has served to underline the need for those who care to be properly supported and given the opportunity to attend to their own wellbeing while in the midst of both crisis and everyday ministry.

"Our vision is that the work of supporting clergy in their ministry will become an integral part of the life of the Church and part of the DNA of every aspect of our mission and ministry."