The purpose of this year’s London conference was simple. While everybody in ministry has had a difficult time over the last couple of years, the sets of circumstances that many estate churches found themselves in was often trickier. Much of the weight of COVID ministry fell on fewer sets of shoulders with fewer resource options, and this weight was found to be significant.
And yet COVID will not end with a holiday, but with the need to get up and get going again with energy and vision and joy – to have Christ set before us and for us to set Him before others. The London team knew what we needed – to attend to our wellbeing, so our conference focussed on this.
In the morning we had Canon Simon Butler who worked nationally around wellbeing. Basing much in God’s hesed (loving kindness), he spoke on “Self-care in a world needing care.” and then “Confidence and fortitude: building resilience and spiritual strength.”
After Simon’s teaching our National Director Sara, with the help of Sarah and Peter Martell provided a wonderful cooked lunch so people could sit and chat with each other. The fellowship was tangible.
The afternoon had three breakout groups:
First was Steph Nadarajah who spoke on the value of spiritual direction and maintaining our spiritual health.
Lucie Walsh spoke for the Clergy Families Network. Ministers have families who have equally gone through difficult times, and Lucie spoke powerfully around how to protect families from the pressure of ministry.
Finally, we had Ben Cahill-Nicholls from the Clergy Support Trust, and his message was simple – “If you are struggling, get in touch! We can probably help … with money!”
For many this was the first face to face conference for two years. The joy and positivity was palpable and evident. The smiles on the faces of people as they left said more than any quote that I can bring. It was a fantastic and blessed day.
Did you know…?
Some employers allow paid volunteer leave. Peter was able to come and serve in the kitchen at our conference thanks to Network Rail who recognise volunteering as a good way to become more involved in the community, to acquire new skills and to experience and develop invaluable life skills. Employees can choose to use their volunteer leave to support many different charitable organisations and we are grateful that Peter chose to volunteer with NECN.