Dilys Stone writes:

What is an Associate Member?

Who, what, why?

Questions I have been asked when I have announced myself as an Associate Member of Broken Rites.

Who? Our President for one; senior clergy, some Bishop’s Visitors, some clergy spouses, some clergy, some churches, some ‘ordinary’ church members. Some of the members of our national committee are Associates.

What? An Associate Member is someone who, although they have not personally been through the experience of clergy relationship breakdown, is sympathetic to and supportive of those who have; and whose care is reflected by their committed support.

Why? Some are involved in various ways with those whose relationships have broken down. Some appreciate the issues and just quietly register their support. Some get more involved.

But what is the point of being an Associate Member? Apart from the practical matter of contributing to the finances, how could you help Broken Rites? How can we tap into this reservoir of goodwill (which we both value and appreciate)?

There are roles Associates can play. Do you live near the venue for Church Assemblies, Annual Conferences or Synods, where you might be able to help with publicity for Broken Rites at these events?

Do you have contacts within church offices or organisations that you could talk to about Broken Rites – especially in denominations other than the Church of England? We need to develop our contacts and conversations with these other branches of the Church.

Can you ask for Broken Rites information to be included in church publications (e.g. handbooks) or on websites, reminding people that Broken Rites is there and the problems of clergy relationship breakdown persist.

Could you approach your own local church, asking for Broken Rites to be considered when the church makes its charitable giving allocations?

Will you be a ‘champion’ for Broken Rites? telling everyone you meet about the plight of clergy spouses and partners when relationships break down and the help and support Broken Rites can give. You might encourage others to join: many people have never given the subject a thought, and are open and interested when given the chance.

Do you have ideas, skills or access to resources that could help others? Broken Rites has the vision for some projects that would make life more manageable for others, perhaps an Associate will be just the person to spearhead one of these. We have pro-active tasks, admin tasks, research needs – can you help to share the load?

An application form for Associate membership can be found here.