Church House Blog: Shock absorbing resources

In this Church House Blog, Revd Canon David Herbert, Continuing Ministry Development Officer offers some helpful resources to ministers who are often there to  guide people through life's circumstances that can impact upon us.


Shock absorbing resources

20 May 2020

By Revd Canon David Herbert, Continuing Ministry Development Officer



Hearing stories from ministers (lay and ordained) over the years has made me realise that they are shock absorbers. It is their resilience born by faith, hope and love, which qualifies them for ministry far more than any formal licensing. People turn to them because they trust them to help bear their burdens. They are found to be patient and long-suffering. They are a present help in trouble. I have put together a short list of some resources which I hope will be helpful to the shock absorbers. This is a time for giving attention to what is happening around us. In that attention, we may discern God’s call about what he wants of us next. It is not the time for answers. The posts and articles I have found are inklings which I hope will help in this time of waiting and prayer. Of course, there will be a lot more and I would love to hear of anything which others have found helpful so that I can keep adding to this list.

Here is a list of some resources to help us theologically during and after Covid-19 - chosen for content as well as brevity:

  1. Six Ways to T.H.R.I.V.E as Ministers in a Pandemic - some excellent tips for wellbeing in these exceptional times by Liz Graveling
  2. Where do we go from here? Towards an Unknown Church is a two-part post by Rachel Mann on the physical demands of lockdown and the consequences of not finding our rest in our state of anxiety and busyness as well as the longer term need to work less and pray more
  3. God, the Virus and 'Tragic Optimism' Is a blog post by Michael Sadgrove, written May 15th 2020 with reference to the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755 and the response of Voltaire (featuring Pangloss and Candide).
  4. Al Barrett has written about The Priesthood of All, in the time of COVID-19 reflecting on insights from American theologian Robert Farrer Capon
  5. Anna Rowlands, Ass Prof of Catholic Social Thought and Practice at Durham has written three articles exploring the COVID-19 pandemic through the work of Simone Weil (on how difficult it is to articulate clear thinking in these times), Hannah Arendt (on our public life and the part we play as social actors) and Gillian Rose
  6. M. Craig Barnes has written On the spirituality of quarantine with reference to 6th century Rome, the Plague of Justinian and the contributions of Gregory and Benedict
  7. Ready for the New Normal - from URC
  8. Heart Edge publishes a bulletin to subscribe to listing links to resources to help us make sense of things, bringing people together to share ideas and experience for doing theology and developing their church and community. It is an ecumenical network initiated by St Martin-in-the-Fields. Join at


As well as being helpful they are also offered as a conversation starter. What resources would you commend to others to help our response to Covid-19 and to help prepare us for life after Covid-19? What have you read or watched which have been helpful? What are the treasured classics in our tradition? Please let David Herbert know ( - and then we can get a second list together.

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