Whilst there are always challenges in the rough and tumble of ministry and family life, anxiety about adequate maternity provision should not be among them. We are grateful to this excellent and comprehensive audit for highlighting what we do well and what we can improve in our current maternity policy.

Being a parent and a priest is a divine calling to be honoured, cherished and celebrated. It is right that the generosity shown by clergy parents through the rich variety of their ministries is reflected in the support given as a new life is welcomed into a family.

In their foreword to the recent Church of England report ‘Love Matters’ on families and households, the Archbishops’ speak of loving in the sense of a “deep, sacrificial, enduring commitment to the flourishing of one another.” What a great description of what it is to be a parent! And what a great description it is of the way God loves each one of us. In the words of poet Mary Oliver, “Joy is not made to be a crumb”. We sometimes need reminding that God’s promise is not that we have adequate but abundant life (John 10:10). Making sure that clergy are properly resourced, particularly in times of vulnerability, is an important way of demonstrating this. We hope our updated policy does just that.

A link to the Diocese of Southwark’s Policy on Maternity, Adoption, Paternity and Parental Leave, (including Shared Parental Leave) can be found here.