Mentoring is part of the bishop’s pastoral oversight of clergy, although how it is structured will vary from diocese to diocese. Frequently, priority is given to providing mentors for newly ordained clergy in order to provide support in the early years of ministry.
That said, mentoring does not have to be restricted to the newly ordained. Experienced clergy who seek to deepen their ministry and/or personal growth are often keen to work with a mentor. Sometimes clergy who find themselves struggling with the challenges of ministry will gain new energy and hope by working a skilled mentor. Ideally a diocese can provide well-equipped, trained mentors who can assist mentees with diverse needs and at various stages in their ministry. The requirements of both diocesan Safe Church and insurance policies need to kept in mind when selecting mentors.
We offer resources for diocesan leaders to train and support experienced clergy to become effective mentors and supervisors. We also provide sample forms and ideas ready to be adapted to fit the needs of your diocese. Feel free to ‘pick and choose’ and adapt material to be customized for your context.
What is mentoring?
Normally mentoring takes place within a one-on-one relationship that encourages clergy to develop their leadership skills, personal faith and overall practice of ministry. Growth is experienced by both partners in the mentoring relationship when theological reflection and active listening are kept at the centre of conversations. Regular meetings provide the core structure for the relationship, whether in-person or online. Phone calls and emails can augment the relationship. A simple written ‘mentoring covenant’ is invaluable in making the relationship work effectively.
Group mentoring occurs when a mentor works with a small group of mentees.
What about supervision?
Acknowledging that supervision is different than mentoring in several ways, we provide resources to dioceses with interest in either or both supervision and mentoring. Dioceses are free to design programs and set expectations that fit their individual context and the needs of their clergy and ministries.
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