Chair of the House of Clergy commends new guide to professional conduct

The chair of the House of Clergy has written to all clergy regarding the new Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy. It is important that you read and understand these guidelines and how they can support you in your ministry

Dear All,
I hope you have had a good summer and have had the opportunity to rest and relax a little. 
As we begin to pick up the pace of parish and sector ministry again I wanted to share with you some information I have received regarding the new Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy .  As you may well be aware these guidelines were approved on the 10th July and the Act will be ‘formally proclaim’ at our Diocesan Synod in October.  

The landscape in which we now offer our ministry is  almost unrecognisable from that which has gone before. We need to be aware of this and equip ourselves should the worse ever happen and we find ourselves in a position of needing professional help and support.  So I am sharing some information which is available from the Clergy Resources page of The Church of England Website about The Church of England Clergy Advocates and about a Legal Protection Policy that Ecclesiastical Insurance are offering. 

Having spoken to both our bishops about this I am confident that if you can show that you have followed these guidelines properly and to the letter you can be assured of their support in times of difficulty. However, if you cannot show you are following them then you may find it harder for the church to defend you. It is important that you read and understand the guidelines and how they can support you in your ministry.

I hope you find this information helpful and of course I hope and pray that we will never find ourselves in the position of needing the professional help support which is available but should we ever need it, it’s good to know that it is there.
God bless,

Revd Joan Matthews
Chair of the House of Clergy

About the new Guidelines

In 2003 the Convocations of the Provinces of Canterbury and York, representing the bishops and clergy of the Church of England, published a wholly new document, a set of Guidelines describing what is desirable in the professional conduct of ordained ministry. These Guidelines are not a legal code; they are the fruit of shared experience and wisdom offered by clergy to clergy, and to all who share in their ministry, and they are set within an expectation that all the clergy will be familiar with the principles of canon and ecclesiastical law by which their public ministry is governed.

There have been a number of significant developments since the first edition. A new Clergy Discipline Measure in 2003; the publication of a new Ordinal in 2007; and in 2009 the new Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure and Regulations brought reform to many aspects of the ways in which the clergy are deployed and supported. Since 2003 there have also been vitally important changes to the law to ensure the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. Accordingly a working party was appointed by the House of Clergy of the General Synod, from among the membership of the two Convocations, to revise and update the Guidelines so that they remain available to every ordained minister, and to the Church as a whole, as a valuable resource for reflecting upon our vocation and its exercise in the many spheres of ministry in which clergy are engaged.

The starting point for the Guidelines is the Ordinal, which sets out the Church’s spiritual expectations of its new ministers at their ordination. The Guidelines are framed as an elaboration of the text of the Ordinal, with quotations from it at the beginning of each section offering a spiritual and pastoral framework for a lifetime’s vocation and ministry as servants of Jesus Christ.

The Guidelines are not intended to be a complete compendium covering every aspect of our life and ministry but contain pointers to wider knowledge of other subjects, spiritual, pastoral and legal with which we ought to engage. They are not the last word on any subject, and indeed will be revised at regular intervals in order to keep pace with changes in church and society.

The new, expanded edition of the Guidelines includes a Foreword by the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, together with an updated version of The Very Reverend Dr Francis Bridger’s Theological Reflection originally written for the first edition of the Guidelines in 2003.

Publication details

The Guidelines are being made available in a range of formats, designed to ensure they are widely disseminated and studied within the Church.

The guidelines are available to read online here:
Dioceses and church organisations may copy and reproduce them freely for non-commercial use.

They have been published as a Church House Publishing book: (ISBN 078 07151 1096 6, price £7.99)

An EPUB eBook edition is also available:, as well as a Kindle edition:
As well as being available as a paperback from Church House Publishing, the text can be accessed on line at:

Any queries about publishing aspects should be addressed to

News & Events

About Legal Protection (Taken from the Church of England website)

 The House of Clergy Standing Committee is aware of the need for clergy to have access to professional support in the conduct of their ministry. Without seeking specifically to endorse it, the Committee recognise that clergy may wish to be aware of the Church of England Clergy Advocates (a branch of UNITE) which was formed in 2012. Details of it can be found here.

The Committee has also been promoting discussions with Ecclesiastical Insurance about a Legal Protection Policy. Details of which can be found here.