Stress and Mental Health

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 forms: household repairs, ass

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 challenges pastors face to their hea

Care for clergy families in a time of transition

The blog SpouseConnect has caring and prayerful suggestions for United Methodist clergy families coping with a change in conference appointment.

Today let me highlight a web resource that is always on the sidebar of this blog, but is especially relevant for many United Methodist clergy families right now:

SpouseConnect is a blog launched by a group of clergy spouses in the Indiana Conference.  Recently SpouseConnect has offered a number of caring and prayerful suggestions for coping with a change in conference appointment. 

If you, a colleague, or a loved one is making a move this summer, keep this resource in mind.

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.

Leverage Points: The SPRC / PPRC

The Staff-Parish Relations Committee is a pivotal thing in the life of a United Methodist pastor. The committee can be a stress reliever or a stress producer.

The Staff-Parish Relations Committee is a pivotal thing in the life of a United Methodist pastor.  PPRCs / SPRCs can be a source of real support to a pastor.  Or things can go off the rails at that point.  The committee can be a stress reliever or a stress producer.

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!

Depression: A Vocational Hazard for Pastors

Early in 2010 Tom Rhodes began to feel overwhelmed by his pastoral duties and barely able to function.

Tom Rhodes is pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Raleigh.  Early in 2010 Rhodes began to feel overwhelmed by his duties and barely able to function.  With his wife's urging, Rhodes visited the doctor and received a diagnosis of clinical depression.

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PBS Story on Clergy Stress

The PBS series Religion & Ethics Newsweekly produced a segment on clergy stress for their current episode.

The PBS series Religion & Ethics Newsweekly produced a segment on clergy stress for their current episode. Lynda Ferguson, pastor of Salem United Methodist Church in Bostic, N.C., was featured in the segment, as was a research collaborator of the Duke Clergy Health Initiative, Joseph Stewart-Sicking of Loyola University in Maryland.

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A Day of Prayer for Mental Illness

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) designates the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) designates the first full week of October as Mental Illness Awareness Week, and the Tuesday of that week as the National Day of Prayer for Mental Illness Recovery and Understanding. The date this year is Tuesday, October 5. (pdf)

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