Stress managment for clergy

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Would you drive a car for 20 years without a decent mechanic looking after it ? People like cars need tender loving care , thorough investigation , a regular oil change ( anointing) and oversight from a decent soul doctor . ( keeping the tread on the tyres of your soul legal and safer than safe ).

20 years ago not long before leaving college , a group of future church leaders went with there spirituality lecturer on retreat to lindisfarne . That’s us sat on the hillside looking like extras from the feeding of 5000. On Saturday we had the joy of a reunion . Since our valedictory service those years ago we have been all over the world . This song around the time of our leaving was something of an anthem

Overall we hadn’t changed as much as I’d expected , most of us were still recognisably us . Some of us had much more sophisticated ways of moving around than a couple of decades ago . What we all had in common were stories , stories of great adventures , stories of succes and building things that will last . Some of us had planted churches , produced beautiful works of art , worked with people on the edge in difficult parts of the world . One thing we had in common was at some point we had been hurt , badly hurt , let down by people and institutions we had grown to love and respect . Many of us had been through the pain of loss , of bereavement . But for a lot of us that loss was not just people , it was churches we had birthed and pastored , projects we had chaired and managed . Charities we had founded . Ideologies that were core to our sense of personhood.

We were beautiful , and beautifully broken. We were like a scrap heap of old transformers from transformers the movie . In need of expert engineers and mechanics to reprogramme us , or at very least help us with a de frag ,a system restore or possibly a good software update .

Stress is there in all walks of life . Somehow people believe clergy stress , ministry stress is equal to failure or possibly something to hide .

In my work as a soul companion I hear the stories of many clergy .  Wise ,wonderful people who have hidden depression , addiction and many other things for years , papering over the cracks whilst surviving on the tread mill of ministry .

Now let the weak say I am strong . It’s time to get in shape for the next phase of your ministry . Some of you are yearning for the current situation to stop , to slow down , to move on to re invision your future . Some of you have found the breaks have been applied and situations have come to a head , an end . Health , disability , unresolved conflict , changes in relationships have brought you to a point where what you assumed would be a life’s work is now over .

Very scary but also hugely exiting times .  It’s time to deal with the past , to place the future in the hands of the divine and to get strong in the here and now . I can help you bring things into focus , help you to move forward with strength and integrity .

However as a soul doctor I prefer to engage in regular maintainance than occasional heavy surgery .

Many of you as clergy and church workers are self employed . Most of you at some point have engaged a church tax managment comapnay to do your annual returns . For a modest fee of a little over a hundred pounds , you have an hour or two of face to face contact each year with an expert , you then have the peace of mind of phone or e mail advice during the remainder of the year .

Here at soul companion I offer the clergy / church worker stress managment equivalent . For 100 pounds a year we can arrange a couple of hours of relaxation and stress managment , ministry review , a quiet and totaly confidential space to file your clergy stress return . To let go of what has been , to leave with God what is yet to come and to trust for the spiritual equivalent of a tax rebate to cheer you through the year ahead .

Like the tax managment people we will also be available over e mail and by appointment over the phone to support you throughout the year . ( at no extra cost )

With many years of lived experience of ministry , including survival mode and the destructive things we do when clergy stress is at its peak , we at soul companion have been there and know the need to find fresh beauty and strength where there has been brokenness .

With the lived experience of degenerative disability whilst in parish ministry and surviving the church of England c.d.m. Process I am also very able to help you and advocate for you be it in ordinary times or through the complexities of church disciplinary procedures within and beyond the structure of the Church of England.

If you need support during the C.D.M. Process I am prepared to be your soul companion , I will be the voice in the dark who will stand by you and where needed speak truth to injustice ,irrespective of what coloured shirt or shaped hat that injustice presents with .

Lets journey together . You wouldn’t set off on a dangerous climb without a good Sherpa , don’t continue in ministry without a professional soul companion .

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