Church Wellbeing

 

Church leadership wellbeing workshops can be run for individuals, church communities, church networks (eg. circuits & deaneries) and diocese. The workshops bring together Steve’s experience and training in: mental health, business, his pastoral ministry as an Anglican Priest (within some very extreme environments) and professional photography.

A common interview question is to ask how resilient we are. I feel this is a poor question as a large degree of our resilience is premised on the environment we live and work along with our relationships. In other words, resilience is not an individual pursuit, but rather a community responsibility.
The correct answer to an interview question such as the above is: ‘How does the culture of your church / organisation / group allow me to be resilient in what I do.

There are some excellent wellbeing courses and providers but many of the techniques taught are premised on self-care (eg. time management, boundary setting, kind non-judgemental thinking, etc). This is important but only part of the answer. There is also a very real danger when the focus is purely self-care, that we can feel we have failed if we struggle in our calling and ministry.

Soulful Vision’s Church Leadership wellbeing workshops aim to create a community event in which we learn to see each other’s world, and explore the hopes, dreams and expectations for our community and church.

There are 2 key parts to each day. The first part is about our own self-care and focuses on simple techniques using our [smartphone] cameras to PAUSE creating moments of CALM in busy lives. The areas the sessions cover are:

  • An introduction to mindfulness.
  • An introduction to photographic techniques noticing light, shadow and composition.
  • A mindfulness photo-walk helping you to:
    • Connect with nature.
    • See your locality in new ways.
    • Create the environment to hear the ‘still quiet voice’.
    • Slow down and centre in the present moment.

Part 2 of the day takes the images created in the first part of the day and is premised on sharing our images with others. Our focus here is noticing our own emotions and feelings as we look at our pictures and those of each other. This helps us to:

  • See our locality from the perspective of each other – so builds relationships.
  • Explore our different hopes and vision for the place we are called to live.
  • Discover a shared vision for the future of the place we are called to live.
  • To take our images into an Ignatian Examan at the end of each day

I see image as a modern day parable in that a picture can speak on different levels to each of us (if you like a modern form of visio-divina). More importantly, I see God at work through the democratisation of photography and it always seems a better idea to join in where God is at work, rather than start something and see if God wants to join in!

The workshop is not about the technical aspects of photography (modern cameras can do a lot of this work for us) but about how we and those who are a part of our lives see and experience the world.