Thursday, 5 November 2009
A colleague asked my opinion on minister's fraternals. Since student days I have been involved in a number of different fraternals and, unfortunately, my experience hasn't been great. Maybe my expectations are unrealistic but I haven't found these groups terribly supportive. It may well be a gender thing but I'd like to feel that the fraternal is a place for ministers to let their guard down, share some vulnerability. A safe space. I have formal monthly supervision, so it's not that I'm looking for that kind of support but it would be valuable to have some kind of fellowship and supportive network. As a presbytery chaplain I used to organise ministers' retreats and the ambience created in those allowed for more honest sharing but it would be good to share in something locally more regularly. In spite of all this, I will continue to support the fraternal. My optimism that it can be quite different drives me to stay with it and, hopefully ring subtle, slow change. I'd love to hear how others experience these networks.