‘Guinea Pigs’ complete pioneering leadership training for clergy

A pioneering training project developed in the Ripon Episcopal Area to develop management and leadership skills has seen its first cohort of clergy complete a 14 month course.

The group of twelve clergy ‘guinea pigs’ , as they were described, from across the Dales took part in a new Clergy Leadership Network (CLN) with the aim of fostering mutual support and development.

The CLN programme was developed and led by Bishop Bev Mason while she was Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven.

Topics covered in the course included Finance, Working effectively with volunteers, Spiritual Leadership, Change Management and Leadership skills. Bishop Nick spent a morning with the CLN focusing on sharing his experiences and insights on spiritual leadership.

Each participant worked on a mission based project to address pressing issues in their own ministry, working in groups of three and attending sessions at Holy Trinity Ripon.

One of those who took part is the Area Dean of Richmond, the Revd Yvonne Callaghan. She said, “CLN has been a great way to learn afresh, whilst being enlivened as we shared valuable experiences with other clergy through this network.  I would recommend this to all clergy.”

The Revd Phil Carman said, "I would recommend CLN to any leader wanting to grow in confidence and competence.  Being given input, teaching and time to reflect on leadership among peers is so valuable.  Ministry can be fulfilling and rewarding but it is also demanding, CLN has given me valuable support for the ups and downs of leadership."

It was, says the Revd Veronic James from Skipton, "..a year of spending time reflecting on our own contexts of Mission and Ministry with objective support from consultants Tim (Hurren), Gilly (Morley) and Oliver (Colling) and being encouraged to further our thoughts and experiances with other priests in the Ripon Episcopal Area. " 


The Area Dean of Harrogate, and vicar of Pannal, the Revd John Smith said, "I have found the collegiality of the group really helpful. It has been great to be able to talk through issues with colleagues and know someone has experience in dealing with the same issues. Some of the sessions have been invaluable in providing resources for ministry."


One of the consultants, the Revd Tim Hurren from Harrogate, said, “This 'guinea pig' cohort was spearheaded by Archdeacon Beverley as a result of conversations with clergy throughout her archdeaconry and in dialogue with Bishop Nick. Bishop Nick has indicated that he will be reflecting on the experience of this initial group when he considers, along with others in the Diocese, plans for clergy development from next year.”

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