"Clergy are often caught carrying the cross of United Methodist decline in ways that are both unfair and debilitating. This is not a recipe for success..." Patrick Scriven offers some reflections which may be helpful to local church leaders looking to support their pastoral leaders as they weather turbulent days together.
"What do we do when anything we can do seems like sticking our finger into in the dike in an attempt to fend off a tidal wave?", asks Sue Magrath reflecting on the surge in victims/survivors of sexual assault who are sharing their stories, some for the first time. She shares that clergy should prepare themselves to be present to listen to those who have been harmed, to advocate so that they are heard, and to fight for sweeping societal change for a better tomorrow.
Following a recent post by Rev. Austin Adkinson where he shared his own struggles with anxiety, Sun Magrath gives an overview of the general kinds people encounter. "Anxiety is not a sign of weakness," Magrath writes. "It is an understandable and treatable disorder that can be overcome..."
"I’m not going to say everything went perfectly. I’m not going to say it was easy. But about two years ago I asked my District Superintendent for help with my anxiety disorder, and I’m glad I did." Rev. Austin Adkinson, pastor at Haller Lake UMC in Seattle, shares his story of asking for and receiving help as a means of encouraging clergy colleagues in need to do the same.
The Rev. Cheryl Fear speaks to the importance for pastors of cultivating relationships outside the Church. "Friends who are not involved in ministry will help you maintain your emotional balance, stretch your heart," she says, and they can also "help diminish the occupational loneliness that comes with the calling."
For this month’s installment of the Clergy Wellness Corner, Sue Magrath gets some insight on renewal leave from the Rev. Derek McGuckin, pastor at Riverview United Methodist Church in Pasco, Washington. McGuckin, who took a renewal leave recently, describes them as essential and offers some practical pointers from his experience.
"Far from viewing our bodies as sacred, we either view our bodies with disgust, or at best, indifference," writes Sue Magrath for the Clergy Wellness Corner. She continues on to share suggestions busy clergy (and others) can incorporate as we seek to "befriend" bodies we sometimes treat with indifference or even disgust.
Rev. Susan Boegli, pastor of Battleground Community UMC, has been sober for ten months. In this post for the Clergy Wellness Corner, she shares how her journey to sobriety started last year on Good Friday, the fear she took on in stepping into the light, and the support she has received along the way.
In the first installment of the Clergy Wellness Corner of the new year, pastoral counselor and #UMC deacon Denise McGuiness shares a meditative practice called Lovingkindness. She writes that "this practice has been a life changer for me, especially in the current state of the world that is full of divisiveness and hate."