The Duke Clergy Health Initiative is a program to assess and improve the health and well-being of United Methodist clergy in North Carolina.

Through wellness interventions and behavioral health studies, and other programs and resources, the Clergy Health Initiative underscores the theological reasons for caring for oneself and offers strategies to help pastors develop holistic health practices.

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The Duke Clergy Health Initiative (CHI) will launch Spirited Life: Selah in January 2020. Spirited Life: Selah is a program designed just for United Methodist pastors in North Carolina. With the generous support of The Duke Endowment, Selah is an invitation to be equipped with tools to shape one’s daily rhythm to be more sacred and attentive, and in so doing, to respond to the stresses of ministry life. “We couldn’t be more delighted to continue this journey walking alongside clergy,” said Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, Ph.D., Research Director of the Duke Clergy Health Initiative. Spirited Life: Selah builds on the success of CHI’s multi-year holistic health program, Spirited Life™. “Spirited Life™ was an intensive, two-year program designed to improve whichever aspect of health and well-being clergy wanted to target. And in great news, participants experienced impressive physical health outcomes,” Proeschold-Bell said. Grounded in the rich theological heritage of the United Methodist Church, Spirited Life™ participants were reminded of the grace of incarnation–that God created humanity, called it very good, and charged it with work of stewardship that includes body, soul, mind, and strength. “What Spirited Life™ was not able to achieve, however, was a reduction in overall depression and stress. Reducing stress symptoms in clergy is now our focus with Selah,” said Proeschold-Bell. Stress among clergy was of continued concern to the two North Carolina United Methodist Conferences as well as to Spirited Life™’s original funder, The Duke Endowment. Invited to continue working for the sake of clergy health in North Carolina, CHI has spent the last five years gaining understanding of clergy flourishing and clergy burnout. Throughout 2020 and 2021, in retreat and conference centers around the state, pastors can join with fellow clergy to be trained in one of three practices that form the foundation of the Selah program. Pastors should look for a printed invitation to arrive in the U.S. Mail after the new year, and for a registration link emailed to the address on file with their conference office on Epiphany (Jan. 6, 2020). Visit spiritedlife.org to find out more information and to sign up by Jan. 31, 2020. If you have questions, please email CHI at selah@duke.edu.