Without you, none of it would be possible, and we are enormously grateful for your support and involvement.
We've archived copies of questionnaires and documentation from each stage of the study below, so you can keep track of how the project is progressing.
Living Ministry is a 10-year project lasting until 2026. We would love you to continue with it as long as possible (even if you are likely to leave active ministry before then).
If you need to change your contact details, please email [email protected].
This privacy notice is provided by the Living Ministry research team to explain what to expect when we collect and process your personal information in accordance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.
Wave 1 Panel Survey
- Panel Survey Wave 1 Report: Mapping the Wellbeing of the Church of England Clergy and Ordinands
- Ordinand Survey
- Clergy Survey
- Cohort Update 2018
Wave 1 Panel Study
- Panel Study Wave 1 Report: Negotiating Wellbeing: Experience of Ordinands and Clergy in the Church of England
Wave 2 Panel Survey
Good practice emerging from Living Ministry
Among the many benefits of doing this research is the good practice which can be learnt from. Examples of effective wellbeing strategies used by participants can be read below. Note that this is a summary of what participants found helpful, so not all of these points will work for everyone.
One of the best ways to stay well is to establish healthy patterns of prayer, work and rest, including exercise, nutrition and finances. What this looks like will depend on your personality, preferences and circumstances. Finding time to relax and to pray can be difficult and usually requires setting firm boundaries to ensure there is sufficient space for both.
It can be helpful to build prayer and exercise into your daily routine as well as setting aside other times for them. Honest conversations with colleagues, senior clergy and PCCs or congregations about reasonable limits can help to manage expectations regarding, for example, working hours and provision for expenses.
Senior clergy and Ministry Development Reviewers can also encourage healthy living patterns by modelling them themselves and giving clergy much-needed permission to rest.
Strategies used by our participants include:
- Building prayer and exercise into daily travel, school-runs, dog-walking etc.
- Ensuring regular retreats are booked and paid for in advance
- Taking days off and annual leave, outside the parish if helpful
- Switching off the telephone during rest periods, or having separate work and personal phones
- Removing the clerical collar when not formally working
- Writing down work-related issues to deal with later
- Keeping track of hours worked, to give oneself permission to stop
- Ringfencing diary time for rest
- Moving the parish office out of the vicarage
- Rationing meetings
- Developing habits of budgeting, saving and claiming expenses
- Engaging in different roles, interests or aspects of vocation, such as chaplaincy, teaching, religious communities and creative arts
- Giving regular time to personal spiritual development, such as through books, podcasts, conferences and worship outside of one’s own parish
Ongoing, supportive relationships with family, friends and those who accompany us spiritually and professionally are vital to our wellbeing. Some relationships already exist and need time and effort to nurture, and others we have to establish proactively.
Channels of communication include face-to-face informal chats or formal meetings, telephone conversations, email and social media.
Varying times and locations of group meetings can help a wider range of people to access them.
Living Ministry participants gave the following examples of invaluable long-term relationships:
- Family and friends, often needing intentional time
- Spiritual directors, mentors, critical friends and coaches
- Groups meeting regularly for prayer and mutual support (sometimes facilitated, sometimes meeting online), for example arranged around cohort, deanery chapter, role, special interest, colleagues, locality, networks
- Private social media groups for instant prayer and support
- Engagement in wider networks, such as diocesan clergy events and network conferences
Most people need extra support at times, whether professionally, pastorally or financially. As well as personal circumstances, periods of transition between ministerial roles can be especially challenging.
There are a range of possible options to explore, including:
- Diocesan support, which may include financial help, practical cover and advice among a range of wellbeing services offered by individual dioceses
- Mentoring and reflective practice groups for specific moments such as entering first incumbency, often arranged through dioceses
- Counselling, which may be provided and funded through your diocese without the need for them to know who is accessing it
- Charities and trust funds, offering a range of services including financial support, advice, pastoral care and healthcare. Some exist specifically for clergy and others are wider in scope. See here for a list of key sources of support
- Government advice and financial support
Dioceses manage the wellbeing of their clergy in different ways, although the diocesan bishop holds overall pastoral responsibility.
Some clergy feel more connected by proactively getting involved and building relationships within the diocese, and being known, understood and valued by bishops is important to most.
Examples of support experienced by Living Ministry participants include:
- Effective Ministry Development Reviews that are sensitive, challenging and followed up
- Advice from and positive intervention by senior clergy, as and when necessary, including support in making appropriate changes in one’s ministry or working patterns
- Personal contact and support from archdeacons and bishops, whether or not related to specific need