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 

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' Ministry Officer) or call 07710 479497 with any enquiries.
  • Support for Chaplains  There are developing networks for chaplains in different workplaces and contexts. Contact the Ven Jeanette Gosney for more details.
  • 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 Ven Jeanette Gosney 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 healthcare, providing physical and psychological support for clergy.

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.


Last updated 16 November 2020.

Page last updated: 26th April 2021 3:48 PM