Professional Supervision for Ministers

The Methodist Conference, currently taking place inBirmingham, has confirmed that "social worker style" supervision isto be introduced for its ordained ministers. 

This new programme of one-to-one support is the first of its kindwithin a UK Christian denomination.

Supervision was recommended within the Methodist Church's PastCase Review (2015) as a way to increase support and accountabilityfor safe practice and provide vital pastoral care to value andnurture ministers while ensuring their well-being. 

A study by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in2012 reported that one of the most effective safeguards withinorganisations and professional settings is the frequent, open andsupportive supervision of staff.

Supervision will take place within the Methodist districtframework. Chairs, Superintendents and those nominated to undertakethe supervision, will all receive appropriate training. Within theMethodist Church the supervision will take place at six one-to-onemeetings throughout the year. It is intended for all ministers tohave been in supervision for at least six months by 2020.

The Revd Dr Jonathan Hustler, Minister Coordinator for theOversight of Ordained Ministries, said: "The supervision ofordinated ministers was identified by the Past Cases Review as animportant safeguard to protect children, the vulnerable andministers themselves. The life of a modern minister is not asidyllic as popular culture portrays. While it is a privilege to becalled to carry the burdens of others, it can be an emotionallydemanding and isolating role. 

"Supporting those in crisis alongside the day to day operations ofa church means some ministers can occasionally feel over-whelmed.As demands on our ordained ministers increases, we must make surethat those providing the support are supported themselves. Ensuringthat our ministers have an opportunity to unload emotionally, havethe tools in place to do their job and have their own spiritualneeds supported is vital to ensure the long-term well-being of theChurch."