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Last updated 21st February 2024

Clergy wellbeing

Our Assistant Archdeacon responsible for clergy wellbeing

Rev. Canon Neil Kelley, Rector of St Laurence in Chorley, is also our Assistant Archdeacon with responsibility for Clergy Wellbeing. 

Writing to parishes recently, the Bishop of Blackburn, Rt Rev. Philip North, said: "I am delighted Neil has taken up this role.

"He will be responsible for drawing together all the existing strands that are relevant to this complex area.

"Whilst he will not have the time to offer much by way of direct pastoral care of clergy, which remains the responsibility of others, he will develop a single, coherent strategy for clergy wellbeing to which all will be accountable.

"He will also liaise with the various external agencies and charities that contribute to this area of the Church’s life. Neil brings to the role not just decades of experience of frontline parochial ministry, but an expertise in the area of wellbeing and healing.

Contacting Neil

  • Neil's email address is:
  • His contact number is: 07980 872203

Ensuring ministry is life-giving and sustainable

The ordained ministers of the Church of England are a vital part of the Mission of God to the nation. 

As both good stewardship of this vital resource and in exercise of its duty of care, the Church needs to ensure that its clergy find their ministry life-giving, sustainable in the long-term and properly supported in crisis as well as in less risky moments.

The wellbeing of the clergy is crucial to the health of the Church at worship, in mission and in pastoral care.

Providing mutual support

Clergy have opportunity to meet together in their Deanery Chapter and other groupings

There is also the provision of grants for training events, retreats and sabbaticals, and the Ministerial Development Review process.

If you would like to explore mentoring or work consultancy, please ask the Director of Ministry or your Archdeacon.

"All should guard themselves and their family against becoming victims of harmful levels of stress.

It is the calling of all Christians, whether married or not, including those with a vocation to celibacy, to take the necessary steps to nurture in holiness their lives, their friendships and their family relationships."   

Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy 2015, 10.4

Taking time off

We encourage clergy to take a regular day off each week, and an extra day each month, in addition to their full holiday allowance, as set out in their Statement of Particulars. 

Physical health

The NHS offers health checks for anyone aged 40-74 who does not already have a serious health issue. Details on their website.

The Archdeacon of Blackburn also organises regular clergy walks that give an opportunity for mutual support ... as well as burning off a few calories! Information about these walks is always emailed direct to clergy in advance of them taking place. 

Spiritual Direction

All clergy are encouraged to have someone who will help them reflect on their spiritual life.

We have a diocesan spiritual direction scheme which can help you find someone if that would be helpful.

More information can be found on the spiritual direction page of the website.

Support when things are difficult

We have an Assistant Archdeacon with responsibility for clergy wellbeing (see story at top of page).

The Diocesan HR Manager, Andrew Cooke ( can also help clergy access a number of avenues of support via our occupational health provider. 

If you would rather access support directly here are some other options to explore:

  • St Luke’s offers a number of avenues of support – for more information see its website
  • The Interdiocesan Counselling Service offers professional counselling to Clergy, Church Army Officer, Ordinands and their families in the five north-west Dioceses. 
  • New Start offers one-to-one private counselling sessions with one of their highly skilled, BACP registered counsellors.  Having recevied a referral, New Start will be in touch within 24 hours to arrange the first session - you will be seen by a counsellor within 10 working days.  They also offer group work programmes and family support.

Health Assured - Clergy Assistance Programme

The Diocese of Blackburn has teamed up with Health Assured to enable an Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to all Stipendiary and Self Supporting Clergy. Although Clergy are not employees, this term is standard to use for most Assistance Programmes.

The programme provides a confidential 24-hour helpline service containing legal, medical and financial information along with tips on how to cope with topics such as bereavement and mental health.

Accessing the Portal

The EAP Portal provides a quick and confidential solution to general day-to-day problems you may be facing, which can range from legal information to online CBT. To access the Health Assured EAP portal please click here


Health Assured also has the new Wisdom app, which gives a more personalised approach to health and wellbeing. 

For further helpful information and resources, please see below.

General FAQ's

Legal information and Guidance

Wisdom Overview

Wisdom FAQ's

How to download Wisdom




Ronnie Semley, last updated January 2024


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