Spirited Life

"High-Touch" Health Reform

A new pilot program for health care coordination shares some features with Spirited Life and our Clergy Wellness Advocates.

Here is some local news with potential for a ripple effect across the U.S.:

North Carolina will become a healthcare reform test bed through a new public-private partnership that aims to see if a Medicaid management program that has saved more than $1 billion can also bring savings and efficiencies when applied to the private sector.

The Local Church as Immune System

Each of us contributes to it in our times of strength, and each of us benefits from it in times of need.

A 10-month-old with a compromised immune system recently contracted a life-threatening infection.  Doctors saved the boy's life by administering immunoglobulin, a concentrated dose of antibodies derived from the plasma from more than 1,000 blood donors. 

Regular Meals

"If anyone knows about regularity, it's monks." 

"If anyone knows about regularity, it's monks."  That's a quote from Phil Fox Rose (at Busted Halo), and I detected a double-entendre that he probably didn't intend.  Rose recently went on a monastic retreat, and among his epiphanies from that experience, he was struck by the value of having set daily meal times and limited menu choices.  (At his retreat, breakfast each morning was 1 hard-boiled egg, 2 slices of toast with orange marmalade.  Take it or leave it.)

A votre santé! (To your health!)

For many years, citizens of countries such as Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia enjoyed excellent health. But recent studies indicate that health advantage is slipping away.

Could our diet be a symptom, rather than a cause, of our unhealthy and unbalanced lives? 

For many years, citizens of countries such as Greece, Italy, and Yugoslavia enjoyed excellent health relative to the rest of the world.  Public health researchers credited the "Mediterranean Diet," an assemblage of foods that features fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry, whole grains, and olive oil (and includes little red meat or processed food). 

Peer Groups: "Ministry as Community Property"

Pastors themselves report a high level of satisfaction with these groups. Moreover, there can be benefits to the congregation and in the clergy culture.

Robin Swift, Ed Moore, and the wellness advocates have just returned to Durham from Oak Island, N.C., the site of the last of our spring series of Spirited Life workshops.  Though putting on a road-show for the last three months has proven intense for our staff, we’re thrilled that the pastors have found these events to be the powerful introduction to Spirited Life that we hoped they’d be.  

One Step at a Time: Your Tips for a Healthier Church

Health isn’t something we can achieve solely on our own – it’s connected to the environment around us. What steps is your church taking to make your corner of the world a little healthier?

Health isn’t something we can achieve solely on our own – it’s connected to the environment around us. Having access to fresh foods (and being able to afford them!), being able to walk or jog safely without the risk of being hit by a speeding car -- these things all play into our overall sense of well-being.

There are definitely things that congregations can do to improve the health environment in and around the church. And we want to hear about them!

Update on the Spirited Life Retreats/Workshops

We want to make a big impression on our pastors at the beginning. Taking you away from your everyday setting for three days is our way of doing that.

As many of you know, all Spirited Life participants in Group 1 are attending a three-day retreat this winter.  We have three of these events under our belts, so to speak, with six more to come in February and March.

One thing we've heard from many pastors is that retreat may be the wrong term for this event.  I'm inclined to agree: workshop is a better term.  We will change our language accordingly in the future.  More about this change in a moment.

Postcard from Kanuga: or, X-Treme Road Warriors for Clergy Health

The snow was "lovely, dark and deep."

The inaugural Spirited Life retreat was held last week at Kanuga Conference Center near Hendersonville. Not everything went smoothly or according to plan. But in the end we felt it was a success, an enriching experience for all concerned. Surely the Holy Spirit was present!

Connecting Self-Care to Ministry

To step away from your parish for three solid days and to turn your mobile phone off (at least for part of the time) is a tall order.

Last week, Faith & Leadership published an article by Mark Miller-McLemore about clergy sabbaticals.  The writer identifies a number of downsides for the congregation and staff who must hold down the fort while the senior pastor is away.  The purpose of the article is not to urge against sabbaticals, but to point out some pitfalls that should be kept in mind when a pastor plans for a sabbatical. 


This week, we reached another major milestone as Spirited Life participants learned to which of three groups they have been randomly assigned as part of our wellness program and health study.

A few hurdles down, many more to go as we move toward helping clergy prioritize health.

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