From the Revd Dr Jonathan Gibbs
Sir, — Thank you for your helpful report (News, 24 February) on the formation of a Church of England Clergy Association within Unite. I thought it might be useful to give a little more information about some of the other options to which the report referred.
The Diocesan Clergy Chairs Forum (DCCF) has been working closely with Ecclesiastical Insurance for the past year to develop a Clergy Legal Protection Policy to provide legal advice and support for clergy facing proceedings under both the Clergy Terms of Service (CTSM) and Clergy Discipline Measures (CDM). It is hoped that this policy will be available soon.
At the same time, the DCCF has also been involved in setting up a network of trained “companions” to offer support to clergy who are facing proceedings under the CTSM. Most dioceses now have a small panel of such companions, able to assist in their own or neighbouring dioceses, who can be accessed through the Diocesan Clergy Chair. These companions operate independently of the diocese or of any other organisation.
It is hoped that this network will be expanded in the coming months, possibly, among other things, to cover support for clergy during the early stages of the CDM. All involved recognise the value of early and informal resolution when problems arise. We hope that these “companions” may be able to play a part in helping to avoid as well as to resolve problems.
Chair, Diocesan Clergy Chairs Forum
St Peter’s Centre
Village Road, Heswall
Wirral CH60 0DZ