Divinity magazine is the glossy periodical for friends and alumni of Duke Divinity School. In the new issue, there is a column by Scott Field, a DDS alum and pastor in the Northern Illinois Conference.
Field’s first appointment out of seminary was to Wheatland Salem Church, a rural congregation averaging 50 in worship attendance, struggling to survive. Thirty years later he is still there, and the church has thrived during his tenure, erecting a new building to house its multiplying ministries, and growing to be the second largest church in his conference.
Thank you to Rev. Grace Hackney for the following commentary.
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Clergy Health Initiative
Let's give it up for Pastor Randy Maynard and St. Andrews United Methodist Church in Raleigh. St. Andrews is in a weight-loss contest with three neighboring churches, and Randy is setting the pace, having lost 43 pounds in a little under 90 days. (Am I reading this right? Wow!)
Here is Yonat Shimron's write-up in the Raleigh N&O;. This sounds like a wonderful idea, bringing congregants and whole churches together, and highlighting the links between body and spirit, and between health and Christian discipleship.
From the New York Times, here is a recent piece on the health benefits of giving – benefits, that is, for the giver.
The article is partly tied to holiday giving. But the writer gives a nod, not just to material gifts for the names on our shopping list, but also to gifts of our time and care. She cites numerous studies that show improved health outcomes for people involved in helping or volunteering. One study describes an endorphin rush or “helper’s high” from altruistic behavior, and finds that “[t]he strongest effect was seen when the act of altruism involved direct contact with other people.” So writing a check is not as revivifying as giving our time and attention to a person in need.
At least several times a year we read that whales have run aground on a beach somewhere and died. Though groundings have happened in many places around the world, there appears to be a correlation between this sad behavior and underwater sonar testing by some nation's navy.
Our health coaches at Davidson Clergy Center are beginning to advise us that we should talk about “The Wall” – that phenomenon that occurs about three months into making a planned behavior change. Suddenly, the great plan doesn’t seem so great and workable any more, and with the change of time, weather, season, workload, suddenly “back-sliding” ( a medical term) can occur. This is a normal, expected stage in making long-term change.
Do you ever have days when you know that the next person who messes with you, in any way, is going to get a dump truck full of frustration unloaded on them? Anyone who works with other people in the intense ways that pastors do knows how tension and anxiety can build up. And it is usually the person who really doesn't deserve it who gets buried under the truckload.