The Christian tradition has always insisted on the importance of self-reflection in the presence of God. St Augustine prayed, ‘May I know you – may I know myself!’ Through prayer and meditative reflection on the Bible, self-knowledge grows. Yet since we are not merely individuals but parts of the Body of Christ and members of the order of clergy, we need to practice self-reflection in communion with others. We need to see our own reality reflected in that of our ministerial co-workers, to grow together in grace and truth and to mature in our ministry of service. There are various ways that reflective practice can be achieved;consider the options below and enquire by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Reflective Practice Groups (RPGs)
RPGs are confidential groups of 6-8 clergy who meet for 2 hours, every 4 weeks, for approx. 18 months. Sessions are hosted by a professional facilitator (independent of the diocese) whose role is to promote in-depth reflection and discussion on all aspects of participants’ ministry and life. Members agree to a statement of commitment concerning attendance, confidentiality, and active participation. RPGs are funded by the Wellbeing for Clergy and Families B. Wild Fund. Email to indicate your interest in joining an RPG in 2022-23.
“It can be difficult to find the time and distance to reflect dispassionately on life in the parish, and the Reflective Practice Group gives a good opportunity to do that and to hear thoughts and ideas from other people.” RPG Participant 2020-2022
A Coaching Circle is a confidential, peer-facilitated group of 4 clergy who meet every 6 weeks to create a safe space, offer deep attention, and intentional questions to experience a powerful sense of collaborative support. A 1-day training course imparting the Coaching Circles key skills and framework is being offered at Church House in 2023, date to be confirmed. Email email@example.com to indicate your interest in training and participating in a Coaching Circle in 2022-23.
Action Learning Sets
Action Learning Sets are small peer-to-peer groups who meet to achieve specific learning goals and might be initiated as part of a training programme. Life-giving social connections can develop through pedagogical process.
For some clergy, the opportunity to belong to a group of colleagues in which to talk through and reflect upon their experience in their ministry with others who will not judge, but who will support them in making sense of themselves and their experiences, already exists, in the form of a ‘cell group’ dating from their days in training.
“…clergy should be encouraged to develop opportunities for mutual support and pastoral care within chapters, cell groups, or other peer groupings.” Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy.
1-1 Professional Supervision
Clergy may choose to pursue their own self-financed or parish-funded 1-1 pastoral/professional supervision. Those in non-parochial roles may have this form of praxis-based, theologically, and psychologically informed support provided. Accredited practitioners can be found here.
Let the reviewer at your next Ministerial Development Review know what form of reflective practice you are participating in.