The BBC series Rev was brilliant but at times silly and, doubtless, wildly inaccurate. But there was one memorably authentic scene in which the vicar, Adam Smallbone, really is at rock bottom. Tears roll slowly down his cheeks as Smallbone, played by Tom Hollander, lies slumped on his dishevelled bed. Exhausted and alienated from his wife, Smallbone clings on – just – to his faith by reciting the Beatitides. The moment serves as a momentary glimpse into the apparently unusual concept of clergy depression.
When the Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the debate on clergy wellbeing at the General Synod earlier this month, he made headlines – but he also won the hearts of many a church minister when he recalled that he was at his most stressed when he was a parish priest.
‘The hardest work I’ve ever done and the most stressful was as a parish priest – mainly because it was isolated, insatiably demanding and I was on the whole working without…close colleagues, particularly in the first few years,’ Justin Welby said.