Clergy spouses unite!

Hello there! Welcome to a blog dedicated to informing and supporting clergy spouses(CS) across the land (mainly in the Church of England in Britain but all are welcome).

I’m Georgie and I am a CofE Vicar’s Wife. Freshly minted in fact, as my husband, James, has just taken up his first vicar post. We spent just over three years in the North-East for his curacy and have now moved to Dorset. We got married after he was ordained so my main experience has been as a curate’s wife.

It is widely acknowledged that being married to a clergy person can be very challenging and I have certainly found this to be the case. Based on my experiences, and talking to other CS’s, I have concluded that a big factor in this is lack of preparation and support. This led me to the cheering thought that much CS unhappiness is preventable or could at least be minimised. We can be both prepared and supported. But this will only happen if we help each other.

Support in the dioceses varies widely and even where good networks exist, accessibility may be an issue for some, due to work, children etc. When I have searched for support networks/information online I have struggled to find anything which is not primarily aimed at female Christians. It seems that at the Evangelical end of the spectrum there is good stuff going on, with national conferences for clergy wives and such like, but again this is not accessible to all. I think there should be a resource which gives access to advice and support regardless of where you live, your gender, faith or churchmanship and which is easily accessible.

So, I thought, why not have an online resource which brings together information and advice for all CS’s. Something where different people can contribute their experiences and wisdom. Where CS’s can come with particular questions or worries and get advice from people who know what they are going through. Where people about to move to a particular diocese, training college or area can get information beforehand about what to expect and what support will be on offer when they get there. Where CS’s can connect with like minded people who they might never have met because they live at opposite ends of the country, or discover a new friend nearby.

I thought that a blog would be a good base for exploring whether there are other spouses out there who would value this sort of resource. I think a proper website would ultimately be a better platform, but I didn’t want to embark on such a big project before finding out if there is significant interest amongst CS’s. So I would love to hear from anyone who is interested in this idea or would feel able to contribute material. Do you have experience of life as a CS with small children? Are you a clergy husband who could give insights into what this growing group of people can expect? Are you a non-Christian/non-churchgoing spouse with advice for those in a similar situation? Are you great with money and able to give practical tips on living on a clergy stipend? Could you give an outline of CS support in your diocese and information on how to access the support network? Do you have advice on how Churchgoing spouses can nurture their spiritual life if they struggle with the church they end up in? I am open to hearing any suggestions and ideas that you have so please email me at: clergyspousesupport@outlook.com. If you have something you would like to ask your fellow CS’s, email me and I will dedicate a post to your query. I look forwards to hearing from you.

I will be kicking things off with a post on ‘How I wish I had Prepared for the Curacy’ and a book review of ‘The Minister’s Wife’ by Ann Benton and friends.

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9 thoughts on “Clergy spouses unite!

  1. Hi Georgie, Good idea for a blog. I too have struggled with feeling unprepared as a curates wife. I’ve struggled with a range of emotions from, shock to grief to frustration and bitterness. I’m sure there were many things that were a shock for my husband as well, but I felt he at least had 3 years of training around it whereas I had none! It has definitely been a challenge. I’m sure many others in our situation will benefit from some advise in this area!

  2. Hi Jenny, yep I think I’ve been through all of those emotions! Shock was a big one, that’s where I feel some preparation could have really helped. It was particularly sad because it made James’ life much more difficult too, it just didn’t seem like a great way for him to start working life. I really hope this blog will be able to bring together advice to help us all better negotiate this strange life.

  3. I just about coped with the transition to curate’s wife (I think I got lucky with our position, congregation, vicar etc.) but I’m *really* nervous about moving up to vicar’s wife one day…

  4. Hi Georgie, thanks for the follow, and great blog! My husband is a C of E curate in oxford, we are due to be looking for our own parish soon – probably after Christmas. We have a six year old little boy and i completely agree – clergy spouse/clergy family solidarity is a great idea. Count me in!

  5. Also can relate/contribute to topics including “CS with small child”; “CS with disability/CS using wheelchair” and “Working CS” – all of which have caused interesting moments!

  6. Hey Julie, if it’s any comfort so far I have found the transition to vicar’s wife much easier than starting as a curate’s wife but then it’s only been a month so far! Hopefully some vicar’s wives with a few years under their belt will join us and be able to impart some wisdom. I hope all is well with you guys in the north.

  7. Hi Emma, nice to meet you! I am someone who would like to be good at design and crafting but isn’t, so I thought I could live vicariously through your blog. I would be really interested in all those topics, would you like to pick one to start with and do a post on it?

  8. Hi fellow spouses, token bloke here in Blackpool. My clergy wife is a curate of 18months now. Its been a rollercoaster of a ride but its still a great ride. We need to have a sense of adventure coupled with a sense of humour to be a CS. Great to see someone taking up the mantle.. Im in!!!!

  9. Hi Pete! Great to have a man on board, I hope you won’t remain the token bloke for too long. Those are both definite essentials; a sense of humour comes naturally to me but the sense of adventure is something I’m working on! My hope is that if CS’s have somewhere to come for support and advice it will free up their ability to enjoy the ride.

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