A few hurdles down, many more to go as we move toward helping clergy prioritize health.
Throughout November, our events team crisscrossed the state and somehow managed to host 34 baseline health screenings in less than 3 weeks. The November 2010 screenings mark the only time during Spirited Life  that we will need to screen all 1,100+ participants at once, making the challenge much more complex. We are incredibly thankful for the grace everyone showed during the first few screenings as we worked out the kinks in our system and learned how to administer this type of event on an enormous scale.
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. These groupings determine many things, but most importantly, they indicate when clergy will begin to receive wellness services – for most, the highlight of our program. This challenge, like so many we’ve faced in recent months, was a new experience for our research team. While it was imperative that we make assignments randomly, we’ve succeeded in placing clergy couples in the same groups so that they can experience the program together, regardless of which group they were assigned.
From here on out, the trajectory of each of the groups will vary. At some point from January to March, the first wave of participants – which we’ve oh-so-creatively termed Group 1 – will attend a three-day retreat in stress reduction and spiritual renewal. The event is a kick-off of sorts to the programming we’ll be introducing to Group 1 over the coming two years and that we’ll highlight here and in other venues as we move through the program.
Groups 2 and 3 will receive the same program beginning in January 2012 and 2013, respectively, though we may improve upon it based on what we learn. In the meantime these clergy will participate in health screenings and surveys, providing data that will serve as a comparison to that coming out of Group 1.
Though the timeline for Spirited Life services is (necessarily) staggered, we hope that you will see it as an opportunity to to take part in other wellness programs and activities that pique your interest and share creative tips with us and each other over the coming year. Doing so doesn’t impact our research, and it can have an amazingly positive impact on you.
Stay tuned for more developments!
Clergy Health Initiative