Summon in the Spirit

Recalling a bit of etymology may prove important as pastors move through Advent and into the celebration of the Incarnation.

There’s strong evidence that St. Mary’s of Bethlehem, an ancient hospital in London noted for its care of the mentally ill, is the source for the word bedlam, meaning chaos and cacophony. The account has it that the word Bethlehem underwent the process of contraction common in English until it became cockneyfied into bedlam. The name for the town where Jesus was born gradually decayed into a word synonymous with the cries of the mentally ill.

First Community Bank of Self-Esteem and Improved Health

A local church is a place to share fellowship, make connections, offer help, and (hardest of all for many of us) ask for help when needed. Could time banks help promote these sorts of vibrant congregations?

New term for the day: time banks.  Time banks are volunteer networks, typically established by non-profit groups.  They are becoming increasingly popular for health-care organizations but hold interesting potential for churches as well.  The term is fairly self-explanatory: Members of a time bank make deposits in the form of volunteer hours, and can make withdrawals when they need help from other community members.  Help can take many fo

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.)

Church Systems Task Force Report on Clergy Health

All parts of the church have a duty and a stake in improving clergy health.

A few days ago, the United Methodist News Service published a story about clergy health.  The story is tied to a task force report that the UMC’s General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) released in May.  To address the challenge

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). 

Community Gardens: Bringing Forth Fruit

The mission of Nourishing NC is to install or enhance community gardens throughout the state.

Our friends at Partners in Health and Wholeness (North Carolina Council of Churches) recently passed along an announcement of a new program, Nourishing NC, a joint venture between the North Carolina Recreation & Park Association and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.  The mission of Nourishing NC is to install or enhance community gardens throughout the state with the goal of starting gardens in all 100 counties by the end of 2013.  The initiative will be led by public parks, health, and extension depa

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.  

Wesleyan principles of holistic health

John Wesley integrated wellness promotion into the work of circuit riders and Methodist societies, stressing the wisdom of prevention: taking care of ourselves every day to ward off major illness.

 

Our friends at Church Health Reader recently published Part 2 of an interview with Duke Divinity Professor Randy L. Maddox, discussing John Wesley's views of health and medicine.

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.

Christians Practicing Yoga

The Baptist leader Albert Mohler has generated a lot of discussion with his recent essay arguing that Christians should avoid the practice of yoga.

The Baptist leader Albert Mohler has generated a lot of discussion with his recent essay arguing that Christians should avoid the practice of yoga.

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