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Well-Being and Support

Well-Being and Support 

The flourishing and well-being of ordained and authorised ministers is fundamental to the life and mission of our Diocese, and the Bishops place high value on it.  There are some core expectations for ministerial self-care including days off, holidays, retreats, study leave (sabbaticals) and CMD.

A description of these expectations can be found here

To sustain well-being, many find it helpful to have someone with whom to talk to or share thoughts about their ministry, before any crisis or 'problem' arises. All ministers are encouraged to develop networks of mutual support in their parishes and benefices, work contexts and deaneries.  Below are some of the sources of support which are available within the Diocese and beyond.

Ministerial Development Review (MDR) 

This annual review is for all stipendiary and SSM clergy and all Readers and licensed Lay Ministers under 70.  Clergy and Readers with PTO are not required to have an MDR, but may opt in if they wish. Chaplains may also opt in.  

More information can be found here.

Study Leave (Sabbaticals)

Periods of extended study leave - 12 weeks, and short study leave – four weeks are encouraged for clergy and licensed lay workers including Readers. More information can be found here.

Mentors, Coaches and Ministry Companions

There are various options for reflecting on ministry with others, which the diocese encourages. More information can be found here.

New Incumbents' Groups

GGroups run by the Bishops for those in their first incumbency.  This is offered by invitation, but please contact Jeanette Gosney (Bishops' Ministry Officer) or call 07710 479497 with any enquiries.

Support for Chaplains

There are developing networks for chaplains in different workplaces and contexts.    Contact Jeanette Gosney for more details.


The Revd Canon Susannah Izzard is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist registered with the UKCP (UK Council of Psychotherapy).  She is also a priest with PTO in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich. It is her role to be available to clergy who are experiencing difficulties of any kind.  Clergy who wish to make an appointment to see her should email Susannah Izzard or call 07702 571760, her office is near Beccles. This initial appointment is free of charge and is an opportunity to explore in confidence the nature of the difficulty and to consider possible avenues of help. Should counselling be appropriate, Susannah will offer this herself, or make a referral to a counsellor near to the clergyperson’s home where possible.  

Help against bullying

Diocesan Policy: Preventing Bullying and Harassment – Encouraging Positive Relationships | PDF

'Dignity at work' is a national policy from the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council addressing issues of bullying and harassment and is available here.

'Challenging Bullying in the Churches' offers further ideas and can be ordered directly from Grove Books (P145).

Courses are provided by Bridge Builders offering insights and training in dealing with aspects of bullying.

Contact Susannah Izzard for support and advice. 

Women's Ministry Support

Some women find it helpful to have a specific network for women as well as someone with whom they can raise any concerns relating to women's ministry.   Jeanette Gosney is the Diocesan Advisor for Women’s Ministry (DAWM).

Spiritual Direction

All ministers are encouraged to have a Spiritual Director (soul companion, spiritual accompanier) with whom they can meet regularly and confidentially to discuss their spiritual well-being.  

Contact Caroline Redman for further information or visit the Spirituality page here.

Further Resources for restoring mental, physical and spiritual health and wholeness St Luke’s healthcare, providing physical and psychological support for clergy. Burrswood health and wellbeing, a large country house near Tonbridge Wells, provides  a good place for clergy in need of a break. The Director of Spiritual Wellbeing is Revd Carol Morrison, tel; 01892 865976, Sheldon, providing space, a wide variety of retreats, and refreshment for those in ministry. Anglican pastoral care, providing care and counselling for those in ministry. The Retreat Association, providing information about retreat options.