Ministers well-being and support

Picture by Keith Mindham.

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. Below are information and sources of support which are available within the Diocese and beyond.

Ministerial self-care expectations

The Bishops encourage and indeed expect clergy to take time for renewal, refreshment and re-creation for their own well-being and for the sake of their families and ministry. The following summarises the current expectations and entitlement:

1. Rest days – this is usually also specified in the Statement of Particulars

  1. One day (continuous period of 24 hours)/week
  2. An additional day/month

2. Holidays – this is usually also specified in the Statement of Particulars

  1. 36 days annual leave – including not more than six Sundays, nor any of the Principal feasts, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday or Ascension Day
  2. Bank holidays (with TOIL – time off in lieu - where a bank holiday is worked)

3. Retreats and spiritual wellbeing – Up to five days retreat/year, plus regular time for prayer and periods of reflection/reading. Clergy are also strongly encouraged to have a spiritual director.

4. Sabbaticals – Clergy are encouraged to apply for a period of extended study leave (sabbatical) or short study leave. See here for more information:

Study leave | webpage

5. CMD – The Bishop expects that clergy, licensed lay ministers and lay elders will set aside regular time for study, retreat and professional development in ministry, and undertake at least one significant piece of CMD each year. More information can be found here:

CMD | webpage

Please contact The Bishops’ Chaplain for further information.

Christian well-being, some notes from Philippi


Whether it’s a crisis or simply something that is an ongoing worry or causing concern, you may find counselling useful. Counselling is available to all licensed clergy, lay ministers and their spouses and is offered by Susannah Burn. Susannah is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist registered with the UKCP (UK Council of Psychotherapy) and has been a member of the Bury Practice for Counselling and Psychotherapy for 20 years. It is her role to act as the initial contact via phone or email for those who are experiencing difficulties and wondering whether counselling may help. She will discuss their needs with them and then make a referral either to herself or to another experienced counsellor on the Diocesan Counselling Team if appropriate.

Please email Susannah Burn or phone on 07742 908947. You can also read more in this leaflet:

Diocesan Counselling Service for Clergy and LLMs leaflet | PDF

Help against bullying

The Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich is committed to creating a harmonious working environment, which is free from harassment and bullying and in which every office holder, employee and church member is treated with respect and dignity.

Find below the Diocesan Policy and various resources and contacts:

  • Read the 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: Dignity at work | Weblink
  • '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.
  • For support and advice, contact Susannah Burn on: 07742 908947 

Dispute Advisory Service

Dealing with conflict is a normal feature of building healthy relationships and congregations This service offers a safe place to bring conflicts and problems that we might have with each other in a church setting.  For full information please click here.

Transitions in ministry

Transitions in ministry can be exciting but also stressful at times. The following leaflets are designed to give you a simple checklist of contacts and resources which might help you to negotiate these transitions more easily.

Welcome to our diocese | PDF

Welcome to your curacy | PDF

Clergy Well-being | PDF

Ordinand Support | PDF

Transition into retirement - for stipendiary clergy | PDF

Clergy Maternity Policy | PDF

Support groups and networks

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.

  • New Incumbents' Groups – Groups run by the Bishops for those in their first incumbency.  This is offered by invitation, but please contact the Revd Canon Michael Robinson (Bishops' Chaplain) or call 07710 479497 with any enquiries.
  • Support for Chaplains  There are developing networks for chaplains in different workplaces and contexts. Contact the Ven Rich Henderson for more details.
  • Single Clergy. WhatsApp group for all single clergy (whether never married, divorced or widowed). The Revd Tracey James is the co-ordinator for this group and you can email Tracey if you would like to join.
  • Clergy families where there is a child with special or additional needs. The Revd Paul Clarke is co-ordinating this WhatsApp group. Please email Paul if you would like to join.
  • 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. The Revd Ali Miller is the Diocesan Advisor for Women’s Ministry (DAWM).

Churches Mutual Credit Union

Churches Mutual Credit Union is a collaboration with the Church of England offering loans (including car loans!) and savings to clergy:

Churches Mutual Credit Union | Weblink

Further resources for restoring mental, physical and spiritual health and wholeness

St Luke’s for Clergy Wellbeing – providing support and resources for improving mental health and psychological well-being for clergy, their spouses and children up to age 18.

Anglican pastoral care, providing care and counselling for those in ministry., an interdenominational group offering mutual support and information to separated and divorced spouses and partners of clergy and ministers. 

Page last updated: Monday 15th April 2024 5:21 PM
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