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Peter Gubi

Reflective Practice Groups for Clergy: Offering Pastoral Supervision, Well-Being Support and Spiritual Formation in Community , from the University of Chester Press, has been written by Professor Peter Madsen Gubi, who is Professor of Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment at the University. His co-authors are Jan Korris, who is a BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) Senior Accredited Psychotherapist in Private Practice and the Reflective Practice Group Advisor for St Luke’s Healthcare – a charity that provides well-being services to the Anglican Clergy; and Professor William West, who is Visiting Professor in Counselling at the University of Chester, and formerly a Reader in Counselling Studies at the University of Manchester.

Reflective Practice Groups for Clergy are defined as non-directive, closed groups, that aim to offer opportunities for a reflection on interactions, processes and dynamics from participants’ ministries and personal lives, which impact on a person’s ministry. This book brings together research into, and experience of, the practicalities, benefits, limitations, and ways of thinking theologically and pedagogically about such Groups, and advocates that they provide an opportunity for enhancing well-being, theological development, Pastoral Supervision and spiritual formation in community.

Much of the research and promotion of Reflective Practice Groups for Clergy, in the UK, has been within the Church of England, so therefore the book reflects that context. However, the principles and practicalities which inform this publication are equally applicable across other Christian denominations and across other faiths.

Professor Gubi said: “The call to the priesthood is a call to a life of relationship, but with parishioners and colleagues, the dynamics can sometimes be complex. We believe that clergy both deserve, and need, a space to talk and explore issues safely. Indeed, within the book, we argue that it is a theological imperative.

“During the writing of this book, the COVID-19 pandemic struck the world. Among all of the death and grief in the UK, churches had to close their doors thus prohibiting a valuable source of comfort for many. Social distancing meant that ordinary ways of expressing compassion were embargoed. No more could clergy offer a hug at a funeral. No more could those over 70 years of age attend a funeral, leaving families bereft, with clergy stuck between feeling advanced empathy and having to maintain and monitor the social distancing rules.”

He added: “Reflective Practice Groups are a helpful way of enabling reflective practice, developing a heart theology, and fostering good self-care practices for future ministry. The future of the Church may depend on clergy developing, and having, those skills.”

Reviews and recommendations about the book include:

“… My hope is that it will inspire both those at the coal face of ministry and those who have a duty of care for them to make regular reflection on practice as normal for ministers as it currently is for therapists, social workers and probation officers.”

Dr Ruth Layzell, DProf, Director of the Institute of Pastoral Counselling and Supervision.

“The authors of this text offer rigorous research, sound theology and years of experience regarding reflective practice with clergy. It is authentically presented by leaders in this field, who have a deep insight and understanding of group dynamics and an appreciation for the use of reflective space. Its accessible style is consistently supported by first-hand participant narrative and honest expression…”

The Rev Bill Mullally, MA, Director of Pastoral Supervision at Wesley House, Cambridge; Methodist Presbyter; Trustee of the Association for Pastoral Supervision and Education; and former President of the Methodist Church in Ireland.

“Offering a compassionately theological approach to clergy mental and spiritual health, Reflective Practice Groups for Clergy shines a new light on a well-established practice. The authors clearly demonstrate the power of creating a safe space where participants can be vulnerable and open with one another, finding healing, growth, and new perspectives on life and ministry.”

The Rev Jared Stephens, MDiv, Care4Clergy group member; and Minister of Cliftonville and Ballinderry Moravian Churches, Northern Ireland.

Note to editors:

About the authors:

The Rev.Professor Peter Madsen Gubi, MA, MTh, PhD, ThD, DMin, FRSA, FHEA, is Professor of Counselling and Spiritual Accompaniment at the University of Chester, UK. He is a BACP Senior Accredited Psychotherapist, a BACP Senior Accredited Supervisor, an APSE Senior Accredited Pastoral Supervisor and a Spiritual Director in Private Practice, and Minister of Dukinfield Moravian Church. Peter has researched and published extensively on Reflective Practice Groups for Clergy, and is a strong advocate of Pastoral Supervision for all serving Clergy of any denomination and faith group.

Jan Korris is a BACP Senior Accredited Psychotherapist in Private Practice and the Reflective Practice Group Advisor for St Luke’s Healthcare – a charity that provides well-being services to the Anglican Clergy. Jan has engaged with two-thirds of Church of England dioceses presenting the preventative well-being philosophy to senior teams, running taster sessions on reflective practice for the Clergy and helping to set up ongoing facilitated groups. She also offers resilience and reflective practice training to the ordinands in theological colleges and designs and runs workshops for diocesan conferences. Along with her St Luke’s colleagues, she meets with all new bishops and deans for two hours on their induction programme to encourage them to focus upon their own well-being as well as the requirements of their pending responsibilities.

Professor William West, MA, PhD, FBACP, FHEA, is Visiting Professor in Counselling at the University of Chester, UK, and formerly a Reader in Counselling Studies at the University of Manchester.

 

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