Professional Supervision for Ministers

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Jonathan Hustler

Professional Supervision for Ministers

The Methodist Conference, currently taking place in Birmingham, has confirmed that "social worker style" supervision is to be introduced for its ordained ministers.

This new programme of one-to-one support is the first of its kind within a UK Christian denomination.

Supervision was recommended within the Methodist Church's Past Case Review (2015) as a way to increase support and accountability for safe practice and provide vital pastoral care to value and nurture ministers while ensuring their well-being.

A study by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in 2012 reported that one of the most effective safeguards within organisations and professional settings is the frequent, open and supportive supervision of staff.

Supervision will take place within the Methodist district framework. Chairs, Superintendents and those nominated to undertake the supervision, will all receive appropriate training. Within the Methodist Church the supervision will take place at six one-to-one meetings throughout the year. It is intended for all ministers to have been in supervision for at least six months by 2020.

The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Minister Coordinator for the Oversight of Ordained Ministries, said: "The supervision of ordinated ministers was identified by the Past Cases Review as an important safeguard to protect children, the vulnerable and ministers themselves. The life of a modern minister is not as idyllic as popular culture portrays. While it is a privilege to be called to carry the burdens of others, it can be an emotionally demanding and isolating role.

"Supporting those in crisis alongside the day to day operations of a church means some ministers can occasionally feel over-whelmed. As demands on our ordained ministers increases, we must make sure that those providing the support are supported themselves. Ensuring that our ministers have an opportunity to unload emotionally, have the tools in place to do their job and have their own spiritual needs supported is vital to ensure the long-term well-being of the Church."

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