CMD Adviser Geoff Read on the value of our resilience training – and why clergy give it top marks
How long have you been offering resilience training in the Diocese of Chelmsford?
We’ve been offering the course twice a year since September 2014.
How do clergy access this course?
Chelmsford Diocese offers this resilience training free as part of the required package of courses for all first incumbents. It is also offered to other clergy as a CMD event for which they can use their annual personal grant.
What does it offer that you feel makes it distinctive?
The course offers the right combination of psychological theory and practical application. Participants are able to work alone and in pairs, reflecting on the material and how it can be applied in the realities of their own parish life. The accountability exercise that follows the course offers the opportunity to embed learning into practice.
Why is it important for your clergy to do this training?
The role of clergy is becoming increasingly complex and requires the ability to stand back and to develop self-awareness and skills that clergy can then choose to employ in a range of situations. Diocesan provision of the course also hopefully communicates the value placed on clergy as individuals and as professionals.
What does this training help to counter?
First and foremost, it offers tools for self-awareness combined with strategies in how to respond to the range of demands, including criticism and conflict, that clergy face in any working week. Out of this flows the all-important ability to step away from responding out of reactive mode to a more intentional and proactive one that’s ultimately rooted in vocation.
Why is the diocese prepared to fund this training? Has it reduced any ‘firefighting’ element in your care of clergy?
Chelmsford Diocese places particular emphasis on supporting clergy at key transition points in ministry. Probably the biggest step up is the transition from curacy to incumbency and so we have chosen to fund this training at this formative time. It’s still too early to draw longer-term insights into the effect of the course, but the short-term feedback from clergy at all stages of ministry is that this is one of the best courses they have participated in.