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Podcast: Bishop John Inge: how can bishops help clergy to thrive?

28 January 2021

KT Bruce

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, speaks at the Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature, in Oxfordshire, in 2018

The Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, speaks at the Church Times Festival of Faith and Literature, in Oxfordshire, in 2018

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This week’s podcast features a talk given by the Bishop of Worcester, Dr John Inge, at last week’s Church Times webinar on clergy well-being, “The Weight of This Calling: Clergy burnout, wellbeing, and resilience”. The talk is introduced by Church Times columnist Angela Tilby, who chaired the event.

Bishop John was asked to speak on how bishops can help clergy to thrive.

 “I find the most helpful analogy is to think of myself as the director of a play,” he said. “My job is to try to bring the best out of the cast, so that their energy and God-given creativity and gifting can be released and the production go well.

“My role now as a bishop is not to bombard the clergy with initiatives or ad clerums . . . but, pray God, to be an encouraging, non-anxious presence in their midst, discerning where God’s energy is and fanning that flame.”

He said later in the talk: “Whatever other people place upon us in terms of expectations, it seems to me that our most unrealistic expectations come from within, precisely because we don’t really love ourselves. We preach a gospel of grace and unconditional love, but we live as if we need to prove ourselves to God and others, and maybe the bishop, and maybe the Archbishop.

“If we’re going to experience that fullness of life which Jesus yearns to give us, we need to learn to be at home in our own skin for our own sake, but also for the sake of those to whom we minister.”

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