Support for Clergy Spouses

If you are a Clergy Spouse in the Diocese of Rochester, then this page is for you.

Rochester Clergy Spouses Network (ROCS Connect) exists to provide opportunities for clergy spouses to get together in a variety of settings to give both informal and more intentional opportunities to share both the joys and sorrows of being married to a clergy person.

On this page you will find information on:

Challenges facing clergy spouses
How the ROCS network can support you
Forthcoming events
Other support available

Challenges facing clergy spouses

Many people have spouses whose work impinges on family life - shift workers, those whose work takes them away from home for days or even weeks on end, those whose work is especially physically or emotionally demanding, but being married to a clergy person has particular and peculiar demands all of its own.

  • Not only is the family home often also a workspace (again, common to many) but there may well be the expectation that it is also a church meeting space, where hospitality is assumed and boundaries with family life can be hard to maintain.
  • There may also be totally unfair or unrealistic expectations of some towards your own involvement in parish life and ministry.
  • We live in an age where the vast majority of clergy spouses have careers of their own, where men and women are being ordained much later in life and so clergy spouses also have very different and varied involvement, if any, in their partner’s ministry.

Inevitably this means that there is also a huge variety of expectations on how the Diocese responds to and connects with those clergy spouses.


How the network can support you

Throughout the year we organise walks, pub meals, an open house for tea/coffee and retreat days.

If you would like to receive the regular email update about events, please contact Margaret Wooding Jones on:

You can also view our forthcoming events in the section below.


Forthcoming events

  • Thursday 14 September 8pm - Facing Retirement (Zoom)

This is for anyone for whom retirement is ’somewhere’ on the horizon.  Retirement from parish ministry poses some issues that are peculiar to ministry life.  This is your opportunity to speak honestly in a safe environment with others who understand the complex issues.

We will be joined by Jane Edwards who has a pastoral role for those retired in the Diocese and several other recently retired clergy spouses.  By its very nature, this is an awkward subject to address given that you will want to keep your thoughts private to the parish and potentially others, therefore we ask for the upmost discretion and confidentiality amongst those who attend. 
Please email for a zoom code if you wish to attend.

  • Monday 2 October 8pm - Living with SEND family in the Vicarage (Zoom)

This is for anyone living with a SEND family member which can be a rollercoaster of joy and challenge and never more so than in the goldfish bowl of the Vicarage

This zoom is a safe and confidential space to share experiences and to laugh and cry together.  We are delighted to have the wealth of wisdom and experience of Graeme Copestake and Natalie Edwards who will facilitate this gathering.

Please email for a zoom code if you wish to attend. 

  • Thursday 9 November 7.30pm Coffee and dessert, Rochester Archdeaconry (In Person)

Following our consultation earlier in the year, there was a real sense of wanting to gather in smaller, geographical groups, so in response to that, we are trying initially to organise a gathering in each of the Archdeaconries.  So this gathering will be for spouses just in the Rochester Archdeaconry.

If you have a favourite dessert that you fancy sharing, please bring it along but you are also welcome to come along without one!  Please email Margaret, to let her know if you are planning to attend -
Bromley and Bexley Archdeaconry and Tonbridge Archdeaconry dates to follow soon.

  • Saturday 25 November, Pre-Advent Retreat at St Benedict’s Centre, West Malling (In person)

Pre-pandemic the Pre-Advent Retreat was always a very popular event - we hope it will become so again.

There will be the opportunity for some spiritual input, discussion groups, craft activities / or a walk, and lunch together.

Details are not yet finalised but it would be helpful to get a feel of how many might come, so please email to register your interest.



Other support available

Even if you do not have the time or interest to be involved in ROCS Connect, the following resources may be useful to you:

Counselling Provision
The Diocese is committed to the well-being of clergy and their families and appreciates that from time to time private, independent counselling may be a helpful resource for clergy, their spouses and, where appropriate, their children. The Diocese is committed to providing up to six sessions free of charge to you. This is a completely confidential service. You may access this facility by visiting the Your Wellbeing pages of this website.
The Clergy Support Trust
The Clergy Support Trust is a charity that helps serving and retired clergy and their families across the UK with well-being support (grants for holidays, retreats, respite breaks, sabbaticals), mental and physical health (providing help with diagnostic tests, mobility aids, insomnia programmes and free counselling referrals) and any other unexpected financial crisis such as car repairs or high energy bills.  They may also be able to help with debt problems. The majority of grants are non-means-tested.
Visit:, call 0800 389 5192 or email
St Luke’s For Clergy Wellbeing
When psychological or mental health issues are causing problems for you or a family member, we can offer help.
We can help with a range of services which St Luke’s for Clergy Wellbeing can fund up to specific limits.
In the first instance visit
Clergy Family Network
Clergy Family Network is a new, national organisation set up to support Clergy households recognising that every Clergy household is unique but all share similar challenges. CFN offers practical and spiritual support to individuals and seeks to be a united voice for Anglican clergy partners and children. Visit for more information.
Facebook groups
Mr & Mrs Vicarage and Clergy Spice are just two amongst many that you may find helpful along with our own ROCS Connect private Facebook group.
Sheldon – heart & soul for ministry

Sheldon Retreat supports people in ministry at times of stress/crisis and with resources for ongoing wellbeing. Spouses and partners are eligible on an equal footing. For retreats and other good space, including family holiday weeks see

One to one support is available on private retreats and R5 weeks. A home from home run by an experienced lay community who understand something of the joys and strains of living in a clergy household.

The Sheldon Hub is a free, confidential online space with forums for peer support and a growing reference library of useful resources. Register now for the day you may need it – because both role and email are validated for security the easiest way for spouses to join is an introduction from an existing member but other routes are available.

Please email Margaret Wooding Jones if you require validation.

The Eggbeer Trust

The Eggbeer Trust has two lodges in Dartmoor National Park providing free holiday accommodation for clergy and their families; unsurprisingly, they get very booked up but can be contacted here:


Key Contacts

Margaret Wooding Jones

Clergy Spouses Network Lead

Get in touch


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