With the Clergy

Just back from two days with our clergy in a nice hotel in Kinross. We’ve been looking at the possibility of a balanced clerical lifestyle. As I think about that, I can’t decide whether it is an oxymoron or not. I’ve always believed that there is in the clerical lifestyle much inherent balance – it’s just that people of passionate commitment tend not to be all that balanced about anything.

Anyway, we did a bit of that .. some great music… were scared witless about diet and exercise .. and looked at the clergy-vestry relationship

And lurking around in the background is the current debate about clergy being bullied. Have I known clergy to be bullied? Yes. Have I known clergy experience abusive relationships in a congregation – short of bullying? Yes. And of course I have been in situations where clergy have acted in ways very close to bullying.

I can’t say that I fully understand how or why this happens. But clearly to have passionate or idealistic people functioning in a situation where boundaries and expectations are not clear leaves everybody vulnerable. That’s why we are putting considerable emphasis on the need to provide training and clergy and vestry members together.


  1. Thank you for acknowledging that bullying goes on in all its forms. I look forward to hearing how the training develops.

  2. >>it’s just that people of passionate commitment tend not to be all that balanced about anything>>

    Now there’s a telling comment.

    I did think that the conference was rather more restful for us than for you as we cornered you in every possible moment to share ideas, concerns, joys and traumas.

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