Chapter 4 - The wellbeing of a chaplaincy
4A - Introduction
Given the often geographically remote places in which we seek to serve Christ, the well-being of a chaplaincy can take on an extra dimension. In an English parish there is always someone in a neighbouring parish who can be turned to for help and advice. In our situation this is often not possible (even with the benefit of electronic communications systems) and this is where the extra dimension comes to the fore.
Jesus was quite clear – that we must love our neighbour. This does not mean we have to like everyone – but we must treat everyone with kindness and respect. In this section of the Diocesan Handbook we explore how we can help to make this a reality through the Policies and approaches developed for application within the Diocese and through the User Guides which set out practical guidance on this journey
In the following sections you will find the diocesan approach to general matters within a Chaplaincy which apply to everyone (clergy and laity) together with some more specific matters which are particularly directed towards caring for our clergy.
4B- General matters applying to everyone
In providing an overall caring approach for everyone within a Chaplaincy, the following matters are essential:
Being alert to bullying, harassment, and similar unacceptable behaviour. The Diocese has developed a comprehensive ‘Anti-Bullying Policy’ which applies across all Chaplaincies.
Safeguarding - it is the responsibility of the whole chaplaincy to ensure that we have a place that is safe for children, young people and vulnerable adults. The Diocese has a comprehensive Safeguarding Policy which is consistent with the Church of England’s approach to this issue.
Racial justice - there are no racial distinctions 'in Christ', and our ongoing thinking about racial justice is detailed here.
Human Sexual Orientation - at the time of writing, the Church of England is continuing its journey exploring this issue through the ‘Living in Love and Faith’ initiative. Notwithstanding the outcome of this journey, the Church is already committed to welcoming everyone irrespective of their sexuality.
Ensuring we have a place that is welcoming to all, regardless of gender, background or (dis)abilities.
Being mindful of our impact on the natural environment – God’s creation in all of its glory - as detailed in our Caring for Creation Policy.
We respect the privacy of the people with whom we have contact, in keeping with local data protection laws, and according to the principle that personal data is normally only held and shared with the consent of the individual.
4C - Matters of particular importance in respect of clergy
As well as the general matters outlined above, there are some matters that are specific to the way in which we care for our clergy – both locally and at a Diocesan level. Providing the right working environment for a Chaplain is crucial to the ability of a Chaplaincy to grow and flourish. To this end, at the December 2020 ‘Zoom’ meeting of the Diocesan Synod, the Church of England’s ‘Covenant on Clergy Care and Wellbeing’ was formally adopted by the Diocese
The following matters are of particular importance:
Taking care in appointing a Chaplain.
What can be expected of a Chaplain.
Actively supporting a Chaplain and any dependants throughout their time in a Chaplaincy.
Providing pastoral support and enabling Chaplains to grow in their ministry.
These are explored below.
4.C.1 Taking Care in appointing a Chaplain
The ‘recruitment’ process to be followed when seeking to appoint a new Chaplain is set out here. This explains all of the steps which must be taken, the need for confidentiality, and the need to avoid bias.
In addition there are key matters which must be attended to by the Chaplaincy to make sure everything is ready and in place to welcome a new Chaplain. These are set out in a series of User Guides as follows:
4.C.2 What can be expected of a Chaplain – what is their role?
A shared understanding of the role of a Chaplain enables an overall environment of support for the Chaplain and any accompanying family. Guidance on what this means can be found in a User Guide ‘What can you can expect of your Chaplain’. The overall support of the Chaplain and their family is covered in section 4.D below.
4D - Caring for the wellbeing of a Chaplain (and their family) during their ministry within a Chaplaincy
The Bishops and Archdeacons (supported by Area Deans) have the responsibility for providing overall pastoral support to the Chaplain. But, in addition, practical support at the local level provided by laity is paramount. The key elements of providing local practical support are outlined below and detailed information can be found in a series of User Guides by following the given links. Chaplains will have agreed 'Terms and Conditions' which cover many of these with details specific to their chaplaincy.
4.D.1 Chaplaincy Accommodation and Transport: Providing fit and proper accommodation and means of transport for the Chaplain and their family is a key aspect of the laity's support. See this User Guide ‘Chaplaincy accommodation and transport’.
4.D.2 Remuneration – Guidance on this, including how this might affect the time available to a Chaplain to devote to the work of the Chaplaincy, can be found in this User Guide ‘Remuneration of Chaplains’. An annual review of stipends and other financial elements must be undertaken for all stipendiary appointments. See this User Guide.
4.D.3 Paying Expenses – Guidance on this, including the importance of having clearly agreed arrangements can be found in this User Guide ‘Paying Expenses and Taking Leave’.
4.D.4 Pensions – Where the Chaplain (or Licensed Lay Worker) has opted for a pension to be paid by the Church of England Pensions Board, this User Guide applies. For other pension agreements, please consult the appropriate Scheme Provider.
4.D.5 UK National Insurance Contributions - A User Guide provides guidance on what steps need to be taken where a Chaplain wishes to retain a continuing entitlement to a UK State Pension.
4.D.6 Medical care – where the standard of local medical care provided ‘free at the point of need’ (ie as per the UK National Health Service) is of an equivalent standard to that provided in the UK then any need for private medical insurance is a matter for the chaplain and their family to fund. Where there is a national requirement to have some form of medical insurance (eg to access the national health care system) or where the standard of the local health care system is not of an acceptable standard (using the UK NHS as a test) then each stipendiary chaplain, together with their spouse and dependent children, must be adequately covered by medical insurance at the expense of the Chaplaincy Council.
4.D.6 Continuing Ministerial Development (CMD) – provides a resource for the use of Chaplains (and Readers) to draw upon to assist in their general development. See the User Guide.
4.D.7 Helping the Chaplain to access specific and peer support: There are training and support opportunities available to Chaplains, which may be funded through the Archdeaconry’s Continuing Ministerial Development funds. See the User Guide explaining what this means in practice.
4.D.8 Sabbaticals: Sabbaticals provide the Chaplain with an opportunity to reflect and build on their ministry. You can find guidance on this by clicking here..
4.D.9 Taking leave - Guidance on this can be found in a User Guide.
4.D.10 Clergy security: It is important for the Chaplaincy to ensure the overall security of the Chaplain and family. See the User Guide.
4.D.11 Caring for clergy widows/widowers and dependants: To ensure that, in the event of a Chaplain or Assistant Chaplain (who is in occupation of Chaplaincy accommodation) dying in office, their dependants are properly cared for, the Conditions of service must provide that:
The widow or widower or civil partner has the right to remain in the Chaplaincy accommodation for up to three months while alternative arrangements are made; and
The Chaplaincy Council will be responsible for the costs of removal, and insurance, to the country of residence immediately prior to joining the Diocese of the widow or widower's personal effects.
In addition, Churchwardens will naturally wish to care for the children or other dependants of a Chaplain who has died in office, and should consult the Archdeacon about the proper consideration to be extended in each situation.