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Diocese addressing mental health in leadership, appoints Dean of Clergy Well-Being

by Tola Mbakwe
Canon Leanne Roberts.jpg - Banner image

The Diocese of Southwark is working to promote good mental health within its clergy. It has created a new five-year position called “Dean of Clergy Well-Being.

Rev Canon Leanne Roberts, Diocesan Director of Ordinands and Director of Vocations, will be taking up the new role will leave her current post at the end of June.

Canon Leanne is a senior priest and professionally qualified and registered as a Jungian psychotherapist.

The role will provide support, guidance and appropriate signposting for therapeutic interventions, as well as some direct confidential therapeutic intervention. It will also develop Diocesan structures to create a network of support, working closely with the Archdeacons.

The diocese said it wants to make the point that clergy well-being is integral to ongoing ministerial development.

Speaking of her appointment, Canon Leanne said, “I am delighted to have been offered this opportunity for a new chapter in my ministry.

“Promoting the importance of mental health and well-being has been a priority throughout my career, both before ordination in my work with the Cochrane Schizophrenia Group and subsequently as a university chaplain and honorary mental health chaplain at Littlemore hospital in Oxford.

“My work as Diocesan Director of Ordinands in Southwark with candidates and ordinands has given me invaluable insight into the breadth of the Church of England and the care needed to nurture vocations from all traditions and contexts to ordained ministry; this role feels like an organic development based on my experience and passions, and a natural outworking of my own priestly vocation.

“The chance to combine my psychotherapeutic training with this newly created role is an exciting one, and I am looking forward to supporting the clergy of the Diocese in their ongoing ministries.”

Venerable John Kiddle, Archdeacon of Wandsworth, has been leading a group examining issues for clergy well-being and this new role will complement that work.

He said: “Our synodical priorities for the next three years explicitly include the need to focus on clergy well-being and Bishop Christopher has indicated this as an area of personal commitment. The Archbishop of Canterbury, at national level, has stated this as a priority for the Church as we face substantial challenges and changes. These particularly affect stipendiary clergy and their families as their livelihoods and homes are integral to their practical, outward-focused vocations.”

The news comes after the Church of England announced that it is to make extra funding available to dioceses for grants to help clergy and lay workers struggling with the cost of living crisis

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