Magazine article Anglican Journal

Clergy Well-Being a Priority

Magazine article Anglican Journal

Clergy Well-Being a Priority

Article excerpt

This is the second in a series of articles examining the five priorities for the church identified last year by General Synod.

The enormous changes in Canadian society over the past several decades have put clergy under more physical and mental stress than ever and the church is seeking ways to improve and support clergy and staff well-being.

Women have moved into the working world and into the ranks of the ordained, so two-career couples among clergy are becoming more common, leaving clergy families to deal with child-care and time-management issues.

The same trend among parishioners means that the rector's job isn't a nine-to-five one, since many parish meetings must be held in the evening, when people are off work. In addition to finances, pastoral care and liturgy and some social work there is now screening of volunteers, consideration of legal issues, and shifting demographics, said Eileen Scully, ministry and worship consultant with General Synod's faith, worship and ministry committee.

"Every profession has its stresses. Ordained ministry comes with particular stresses and there is increased stress on clergy from a variety of angles," she noted.

Last summer, General Synod identified clergy wellness as a top priority. Bishop Fred Hiltz, of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, is leading a Council of General Synod (COGS) task force that is looking at ways to improve and support clergy and staff well-being.

The task force met in March and which will report to COGS at its next meeting this month. It is asking dioceses what programs they have that address clergy and staff well-being, said Ms. Scully, who is working as General Synod staff member to the committee.

"We contacted each diocesan synod office and asked two questions: Have you done a study in the last five to 10 years on clergy wellness or health and do you have any programmatic oversight for these concerns? …

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