After some useful feedback and suggestions I decided that an online forum, accessible only to CSs, would be a good way to go beyond what a blog can do. This will be a space where CSs can seek advice, share experiences and just generally chat freely with other people in the same boat. A fellow CS, Julie, suggested using Google Groups as this would be accessible for people who are not on Facebook. She has led the way on this and created the group which is officially up and running. Our hope is that this will be a group which is easy for people to access and by being separate to other social media such as Facebook will allow members to be as private about their details as they wish. Now all we need is some people to join and get stuck in. The key information you should need is as follows:
- This is a closed group for CSs (I include spouses of clergy in training in this term) so you can post knowing that only other CSs are reading. In order to join the group you need to apply and provide a few pieces of information so that we know you are a genuine CS (not that I can imagine anyone wanting to join who isn’t but better safe than sorry)
- In order to access the group you will need a Google account if you don’t already have one. This Google account can be associated with a non-gmail email address so you do not need to start using Gmail (although an email account will be set up for you automatically), you just need a Google username and password. To set up an account go to: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=mail
- To apply to join the Clergy Spouse Support group go to: https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=en#!forum/clergy-spouse-support
- You will be asked to sign in so you will need to have a Google username and password as mentioned above. Once you have signed in you will see the option to apply to join. When you click on this you will be asked for some information (Name, Church/Training College, Relationship to Clergy Person) as part of your application. You will get an email telling you when your application has been approved.
- Any member of the group will be able to reply to posts and start new topics themselves.
- Anything said within the group stays within the group. I may use people’s contributions in blog posts but this would be as anonymous advice – if I thought something was so specific it could be connected to you I would ask your permission before including it.
- Other members will be able to find your email address (and through this your Google+ profile if you have one) but no other information will be available. If you don’t want people to know your usual email you can sign up with the gmail email which will be created anyway when you set up a Google account. You may then be as anonymous as you wish.
If you have any questions just let me know. Julie and I look forwards to meeting you in the group!