[Church in Wales] Clergy are often turned to when people need help but now a new counselling service will support clergy when they face difficulties themselves.
From money worries to family crises or addictions – the new Cynnal Churches’ Counselling Service was launched today to provide a free confidential counselling service available throughout Wales for all members of the clergy and their families who might be facing challenging times in their personal lives.
Called Cynnal, the accredited service will be available to clergy of all church denominations and delivered by the charity CAIS (Cyngor Alcohol Information Service) through its subsidiary Living Room Cardiff. It will take over from the current Church Counselling Service which was set up 20 years ago.
Cynnal will be overseen by an advisory panel which will include representatives of church denominations and will meet twice a year. All the counsellors are qualified and trained and clergy will be able to refer themselves for help.
Clive Wolfendale, chief executive of CAIS, said the growth of the Living Room Cardiff as a centre for counselling made it a natural home for the new service for clergy.
He said, “Both CAIS and Living Room Cardiff have their roots in Welsh faith communities so it makes sense for us to assimilate the work of the Churches Counselling Service for Wales. Together we can ensure that ministers are supported across the country.”
Wynford Ellis Owen, chief executive of Living Room Cardiff, said, “Clergy are perceived as people who don’t have problems – they are the ones we go to when we have problems. But they are human like the rest of us and sometimes, under pressure, their problems – and those they are helping others with - can come to the fore. That can be particularly difficult for them because they work across the community.
“We can provide them and their families with a safe environment where they can seek help and support in confidence.”
The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, said, “The Church in Wales welcomes this new service for the care and welfare of our clergy and is keen to support it. We wish CAIS and Living Room Cardiff every success with the launch of Cynnal and we look forward to working together in the future.”