Ad Clerum - October 2023

Beloved in Christ,

In recent days we have written exhorting your prayers for our sisters and brothers in Israel and Gaza and, of course, we do not forget the need for prayer for those in Ukraine and Russia as well as in other areas of our world where people suffer as a result of war, violence, persecution, prejudice, hunger and displacement.

At this challenging time in our world, where we pray for peace for all people, we remain thankful for the steadfast love of God. We are thankful for God’s guidance, which opens our hearts and minds to profound gratefulness for the bonds that unite us and, in all things, we remember the words of our Saviour:

‘ “ A new commandment I give to you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”’

Living in Love and Faith

Part of the expression of our love for one another, as Christ has loved us, is shown in the way in which we journey through disagreement and difference. In this diocese there has been a high level of engagement in the discussion around the complex questions of identity, sexuality and relationships and in our listening to one another and conversation together we are seeking to model a culture of speaking respectfully and lovingly about and to one another. We ask you to hold each other, and us, in grace and love at this time as we look to walk faithfully with Christ and seek to discern God’s will for our Church.

Following the vote in February 2023 at General Synod to move forward with provision to bless those in same-sex relationships within the Church of England, Bishop Michael, conscious of the pastoral needs that are highlighted by the raising of this issue, was pleased to establish a chaplaincy support team to provide a confidential safe space for listening, encouragement, spiritual and pastoral care, and to signpost to other opportunities for support.

This support is being made available for anyone in the diocese, both within the LGBT+ community and outside of it, who hold different convictions on this issue. Strict confidentiality will be maintained in all conversations, and safeguarding standards will be rigorously guaranteed.

The chaplaincy support team consists of:

  • Matt Edwards

Matt is available to offer chaplaincy support from an ‘affirming perspective’ to people across the diocese, signposting to other opportunities for support where needed. Matt is a Reader in the benefice of Barton-under-Needwood with Dunstall & Tatenhill in East Staffordshire, a member of General Synod and is well-connected to affirming groups within the Church. He can be contacted at

  • The Revd James Gandon

James is available to coordinate chaplaincy responses for those from an ‘orthodox perspective’, and has links to people who can support from a catholic and an evangelical background, both men and women. James has been the Vicar at St Andrew’s in Sneyd Green, Stoke-on-Trent, since 2017 and chairs the Diocesan Evangelical Fellowship. He can be contacted at

Clergy wellbeing

Many of us find our ministries fulfilling and joyful but there is evidence that a significant number of us are struggling with stress and tiredness. Even if things are going well, we will all hit some tough patches in our ministry. The causes are various but may include personal and family circumstances, shrinking resources, an increasingly secular society, the legacy of Covid19 and division over Living in Love and Faith.

There are no easy answers or quick fixes, but the Bishop’s Staff Team continue to reflect on ways in which we can all be better enabled to thrive in ministry. We would like to open further conversations about Diocesan provision, building personal resilience and the changing nature of ordained ministry in a complex world. Bishop Matthew is leading on this for the Bishop’s Staff Team and would be glad to receive comments and observations at

If you are not aware of what is available to support you in ministry in this Diocese, please head to

Some of the resources there are designed to support you through those more stressful, tough times, and others to walk alongside you, offering strategic, reflective and spiritual accompaniment. Access is completely confidential.

Lichfield Bishops’ Clergy Conference: Monday 22nd - Thursday 25th April, 2024

The theme of our conference is ‘Lord, teach us to pray’. Our speakers will include Revd Dr Mark Oakley, Revd Magdalen Smith and Revd Preb. Nick Helm and our Bible study sessions will be led by Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley. This will be a great opportunity for us to gather for mutual learning, prayer and worship, refreshment and relaxation. We hope that you may already have these dates in your diaries, and we would be grateful if you could complete your booking by clicking on the link by Thursday 30th November, 2024:

Listening Exercise for the Bishop of Wolverhampton

Bishop Jonathan Clark has written to the licensed clergy, lay ministers and office holders across the Wolverhampton Episcopal Area asking for their reflections on the life of the church and local community and for suggestions on the qualities and skills needed from a new Bishop of Wolverhampton. Responses have been invited in writing and through online meetings and Bishop Jonathan will also be meeting in person with deanery chapters and deanery lay chairs. The listening process will be complete before Christmas and will then feed into the appointment process for the new bishop. Anyone who would like to contribute from the wider diocese is invited to write to Bishop Jonathan at

Appointment of the Dean of Lichfield

The appointment process for the Dean of Lichfield is underway and the Archbishops Appointments Secretary and the Crown Appointments Secretary will be undertaking a series of consultations in November. Interviews will take place in April and it is hoped that the new dean will begin their ministry in September. Please pray for wise discernment throughout the appointment process.

This comes as ever with our prayers and our thanks for our partnership in the gospel.


Page last updated: Thursday 23rd November 2023 1:50 PM
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