Thanks to the Clergy Spice Facebook group I have recently become aware of The Society of Mary and Martha, a charity which is based at their property Sheldon in the Teign Valley near Exeter. They offer retreat and education resources for all but also have a specialist work in supporting those in Christian ministry. Their definition of ministry for the purpose of access to their ministry resources and discount is: Continue reading
A couple of weeks ago one of the admins from a Facebook group aimed at supporting CSs got in touch and they have kindly said that I can write a post about the group to help spread the word to those who may not have come across it yet. The group is called ‘Mrs and Mr Vicarages’ but is secret so cannot be found through searching Facebook – only members can see it and the content. This allows for a high level of privacy and makes it a safe space for CSs to bring their questions, worries, prayer requests and on occasion to let off steam. It also means that word of mouth is the only way for people to find out about it so if you know a clergy spouse give them a heads up!
There are almost 300 members so there is a wealth of knowledge and wisdom to consult if you need advice or information. I’ve been a member for a couple of weeks and already really appreciate the supportive atmosphere and seeing from others’ posts that I am not alone in the challenges and frustrations I have encountered. The normal way of joining is for a current member of the group to invite you and the admins approve new members before they are accepted. If you do not know a current member but are interested in joining you can contact Jo Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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!