First published on: 13th May 2019

Wellbeing seems to be the latest trendy concept a need to focus on how we best function and live with ourselves and one another at a time when anxiety and poor mental health appear to be on the increase. Shalom is an ancient Hebrew word, frequently translated simply as peace, but more accurately focused on a much stronger concept of wholeness, restoration and wellbeing. When things are out of alignment there is a need to bring shalom to people and situations.Shalom is an action, producing a state of wellbeing.

I am delighted to see the Church of England take seriously the need for wellbeing for clergy. As General Synod debates and approves a final proposal of a Clergy Covenant for Wellbeing this month it is a personal joy to be invited to action this within the Diocese of Newcastle.My hope is to offer those whose lives and ministries may seem out of kilter, space and focus to be restored. Each deacon, priest and bishop is unique and no one approach fits everyone, but with our diocesan team of counsellors, we can offer a private and confidential space in which clergy can make shalom within themselves.

Each month I hope to produce a thought provoking column for clergy and church members to consider how collaborative ministry and mutual care can lead to the flourishing and wellbeing of us all. There is much we can do to help ourselves and one another, within the body of Christ, to be restored. Most contemporary psychology can find its roots within the Scriptures, where the open expression of emotion, lament and faith are held in honest tension. Telling it as it is is modelled so powerfully. May we become people of Shalom more and more.

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