Our next meeting:-
Saturday, 3 September 2022 in person. More details will be released as soon as possible.
THE Scottish regional group continues to grow, in large part due to people graduating from IPSRP Pastoral Supervision training which now runs regularly in Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The regional group meets for mutual support around 3 times a year and has members in Inverness, Aberdeen, Fife, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow and various places in between.
Members take it in turns to facilitate the gatherings and to offer a theme for our time together.
“Creating a space” by André Groenewald
On my recent trip to South Africa, I took this photo of a giraffe. It made me think about our practise of Pastoral Supervision – always looking for a “super – vision” … attentively listening, providing a space for someone else to reflect on the inner truths they already know…
I then stumbled on this poem which made me sit upright….
“One of my favorite animals is a giraffe.
They’re so awkward and lanky,
yet despite their strange appearance
there is a grace in there gallivant;
there is a beauty to their mien.
They don’t flaunt their attributes
or covet the patterns of their wildlife peers
because they have been graced
with the privilege to indulge in the secrets
whispered by the leaves amongst the tree tops.”
In a time where we think and reflect on the Identity of Pastoral Supervision, I think we should all aspire to be “giraffes” in our practise …. Always making sure there is a time and space for someone else to come to and reflect, not giving answers – but always looking out – looking for a bigger “vision”, always aware of the blind spots that so easily distract, attentively listening even to the “whispers” of our supervisees and Peers …. And not competing with other professionals doing something differently … but graciously accepting whom we are as Pastoral Supervisors….
Please remember the “Conference 14-15 June 2022 Golden Jubilee Hotel Conference Centre
Keynote speaker: Liz Crumlish”
Once again, we met by Zoom due to lockdown restrictions. However, one positive aspect of this was that it was then possible for us to be joined by the Southeast of England group. It was good to meet and share with people from the opposite end of the country.
We had presentations from six panellists, three from Scotland and three from the Southeast, giving insights on their journey into supervision/APSE.
Blair, from the north of Scotland, has been involved in pastoral supervision for many years as a hospital chaplain and in APSE since its formation in 2008. APSE grew out of discussions on the future of Clinical Pastoral Education in Scotland. Around the same time, Blair noted that chaplaincy became theologically neutral and the formation of APSE was an opportunity to engage with theological aspects of supervision. For Blair, an important question in supervision is, ‘What really matters to you?’ as he aims to intentionally embrace the whole person. He commented that the diversity of Healthcare Chaplaincy, and Supervision, is not reflected in the membership of APSE.
Julie, from Sussex, on the other hand, is relatively new to pastoral supervision and joined APSE within the last 2 years. She ‘stumbled’ into pastoral supervision through spiritual direction after hearing Tricia McIlroy speak of her ‘heart for leaders’ which resonated with Julie. She noted that her spiritual direction training gave her transferable skills. As she gains an experience and moves forward in pastoral supervision she would like to develop working with groups and creative approaches to supervision.
We then heard from Ian, from Glasgow in Scotland. Ian couldn’t be with us in person but provided a video focusing on four aspects of pastoral supervision in Scotland through the lens of the Crowded House single, Four Seasons in One Day. His four seasons are:
Ian concluded by saying that the weather is changeable, continually shifting in our small country, but we embrace richness. Continuing the ‘Crowded House’ metaphor, he noted that pastoral supervision is about space – holding it, and helping clients to use it.
Our fourth panellist was Sarah from Essex who felt that, rather than seeking out pastoral supervision and APSE, she was drawn to it. In her role in leadership development, she was looking for something to enable transformative conversation and in 2014, on a five-day course at Wesley House, found something which was life-changing. She is now Director of Well-Being for the Salvation Army. In the past year she has offered 210 sessions to 80 people and finds that issues of resilience and transition come up time and time again. For her, supervision is allowing God to have the space to speak to us in transformative ways.
We then returned to Scotland where Lisa told us of her heart for supporting people in their work which drew her into pastoral supervision, moving from a task-based culture to values-based practice. Lisa offers both group and individual supervision but has found that group supervision has developed during the pandemic. In one group, she noted that to begin with she had to work hard to facilitate it but now feels she simply holds the space as the members have become comfortable with supervision and are taking ownership.
Our last panellist was Maureen from East Sussex, a counsellor and supervisor from 1993 – 2016, who found that many of her clients were church leaders in crisis. They felt isolated and unsupported but were working at the sharp end of human pain. She heard of APSE through David Lyall whom she met through his interest in her work. She is now involved with Saint Luke’s, a charity which exists to assist clergy well-being, she supervises groups, and is also involved in training. She noted that the challenge is to persuade people that pastoral supervision isn’t for those with problems.
The panel was rich with experience and it was interesting to hear of the different routes into pastoral supervision and into APSE. What was clear from the presentations was that pastoral supervision is becoming increasingly popular and valuable, and this is becoming ever more recognised by official bodies such as the various denominations and para-church organisations.
 Church of Scotland governance is delivered through regional groups of ministers and elders from every congregation within each region. These groups are called Presbyteries, hence “Presbyterian”.