Keith Condie, Co-director of ADM’s Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute, spoke to all clergy and licensed ministry workers across the Anglican Diocese of Sydney at the Faithfulness in Service conferences in June 2017. Keith explains why he is tackling the issue of stress and ‘core strength’ at the conferences:
How does your involvement in the Faithfulness in Service conference tie into your role with the Mental Health & Pastoral Care Institute?
One of the key ‘take home’ messages from our study trip last year was that pastoral staff, especially senior ministers, shape the way that churches respond to those struggling with mental illness. Ministry staff play a vital role in reducing stigma, modelling helpful responses to those in need, and creating a climate where the networks of relationships that exist within churches are able to bring such benefit to those in mental distress. But another message we came home with was that many pastors are under significant stress, which is impacting their own mental wellbeing. We see the Faithfulness in Service conferences as great opportunities
to help ministry staff understand stress and its affect upon us, and to build their ‘core strength’ so that they will be able to bounce back from the demands that are inevitable in ministry life.
What do you hope ministers will take home from the Faithfulness in Service conferences through your talks?
We realise that only so much can be achieved in the space of a few hours. But we hope that the information we present and the exercises they complete will be an opportunity for some honest self-assessment. We hope that each participant will leave with an understanding of the strengths that are presently sustaining their ministry life and what small steps they might take to continue to grow in resilience, so that they can push on in faithful, joyful service of our Lord.
What are some of the future initiatives you at working on at the MH&PCI?
The next big project on our agenda is creating an online/ DVD marriage enrichment resource. With the help of a project manager, plans are well underway for this and we hope to launch the resource early in 2018.