Clergy Burnout…

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you. Anne Lamott

Meditation: During our recent United Church of Christ (UCC) annual meeting I met an African American male pastor who had not taken a vacation since 2003. When he finally took one week off and went on a cruise to the Cayman Islands, he did not know anymore how to relax. He felt uncomfortable and lost when “unplugging”. As I hear a story like this, I feel passionate about being part of a movement in the church that helps pastors explore their daily lack of self-care and then aids them in developing healthy habits and reach a happy and healthy life with and beyond their ministry. At the same meeting I learned that the UCC offers a three year program called “Credo” where clergy do exactly this (the Episcopals and Presbyterians have similar programs): they explore their (lack of) self-care and learn to become more conscious of how to care for themselves while caring for others. Any UCC pastor can apply for this three year program that includes annual week long retreats and the experience of being part of a self-care group of clergy. If you are a UCC clergy, come and join me! The application process for the next three year group begins this Friday.

Prayer: God, I mourn that most of us clergy have bad self-care habits. Many of us think that we have to sacrifice ourselves for our ministry. We over-function, and we are workaholics. We lose ourselves in our ministry activities, and many of us feel guilty when we take time away. Why are we so neglectful of ourselves, when Jesus was such a good role model of self-care? God, help us as a community of clergy to recover from our ministry addiction and from our “unholy” habit of over-working. Amen

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31