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Care for clergy in difficult calls writing project

Care for clergy in difficult calls writing project

The Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations and The Episcopal Women’s Caucus have joined together to raise awareness of clergy serving in difficult situations and develop systems of care. They have asked 12 individuals from in and around the church to address challenging calls and issues relating to workplace bullying.

The Care for Clergy in Difficult Calls Writing Project:

The Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations(NECA) and The Episcopal Woman’s Caucus (EWC) formed a partnership this past February to begin to address a topic of some concern to clergy. We have invited a group of writers to both identify and address systemic issues related to difficult calls. Clergy living in and through difficult calls is an area of ministry that often gets overlooked because to do ministry in this context is to enter individually into a complex set of causes and conditions. As a partnership, we concluded we can ill afford to continue to look away when Dioceses, Parishes, and Clergy are adversely affected by conflict, anxiety, and vocations cut short. To begin that important work to begin to identify the challenges in a non reactive way, we have asked 12 individuals from in and around the church to address the challenge of challenging calls and issues relating to workplace bullying. We are seeking to bring greater advocacy, light, and clarity to a challenge in the church that has been with us (and growing) for some time. Starting August 4th 2014, both NECA and the EWC will release one essay a week for twelve weeks in order to further this important conversation.

How did we get to this point?

In January of 2014, The Episcopal Diocese of Newark, meeting in convention, passed a resolution which reads:

Resolved, that this 140th Annual Convention of Episcopal Diocese of Newark call upon the Bishop to appoint a Task Force to develop a policy to address the bullying, harassment, and abuse of clergy by lay persons and report its findings to the 141st Annual Convention.

The resolution and its passing represents a watershed moment in the life of the Church. In response to the resolution and by bringing these challenges out in the open, we hope we might both reduce the stigma of such troubled calls and move forward toward developing a formal ministry of care for clergy coming out of them. In sharing these essays we might both support what has begun locally in the Diocese of Newark and more importantly, further the conversation in the wider Episcopal church.

To read the essays as they are released please click through to The Episcopal Women’s Caucus and The Network of Episcopal Clergy Associations. If you would like further information or would like to write about this project please email


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Elizabeth Kaeton

Hi, Paul,

The anecdotal evidence is clear: when there is a difficult call or forced resignation, bishops are, more often than not, part of the problem and less than helpful in finding a solution.

Bottom line: There is domestic violence in the Household of God. And, it has to stop. Silence has worsened the problem. This project hopes to bring an end to that silence.

An additional note: The Caucus has begun a blog where we will also post the articles and invite conversation. We will also post individual essays submitted by clergy who feel able to tell their stories. You will be able to find a link to the blog on The Caucus website.

Peter Pearson

Oh, I’m an expert at this point.

Ann Fontaine

I think you should contact the groups sponsoring this to ask them.

Paul Woodrum

And, on the other side of the coin, what about bullying, harassment and abuse of clergy by their bishop(s)?

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