Clergy Support

The Louisiana Conference is fully aware that demands on your time and energy are unprecedented.  Whether you are in a disaster zone, grappling with the effects of COVID-19 and the resulting economic downturn or political and racial unrest in your congregations, the need for a unique and extended sabbath is real.  

The Office of Clergy Excellence has been hard at work developing tools and resources for you. An emphasis on holistic health is part of the Wesleyan tradition.

To do this, we must tend to our physical, mental, and spiritual selves sometimes referred to as our' holistic health'.  

"We have expended so much energy and effort learning how to care for our congregations in the midst of this pandemic, that we have often forgotten to care for ourselves," says Rev. Jessica Lowe. "Therefore, we have compiled various resources to help our clergy do just that - care for themselves. Whether that means utilizing a colleague's pre-recorded sermon so that you can go away for a weekend, setting up an appointment with a therapist or spiritual director, or applying for a sabbath/self-care grant in order to rest and recharge your soul. Caring for ourselves enables us to better care for others, and sustains us for the journey ahead."

Listen below to a Louisiana NOW podcast featuring Rev. Dr. Van Stinson, Director of the Clergy Excellence. Stinson discusses the Clergy Support initiative and its importance. 



Browse Resources for Clergy Support 

 

 


 

"Taking a Break"

 


We encourage you to read this article from Mark Dance

In it, he says this: 

"Driven pastors often convince ourselves that we cannot afford to take a break. Yet wouldn't you agree that, as important as we think we are, we are not more important than the world-changing Messiah? Storms will come and go, but God's gift of Sabbath is all the permission we need to rest, even when all of our work is still unfinished."

Easily said, right? 

We get it. 

There's a lot going on today. From broken webcams to downed WiFi - decreased giving and a decrease in attendance. Deep down, you know how necessary Sabbath is for vital ministry, but you just can't find the right resource to free up the necessary time. 

We've heard you, and we are here to help. Below you will find a variety of resources, all designed to help you pastor and thrive in the midst of the pressures of today's post-pandemic world. 

 


 

Sermons Available for Use
 

 

If you are a clergy serving with limited staff, a time may come where you find yourself ill and unable to record a worship service. You may also be in a position where you desperately need to take a weekend off from preparing, preaching, and producing worship for your congregation.

We've collected a variety of sermons from a variety of your clergy colleagues in the Conference. These sermons are available for you to preview and download for potential use in your context. 

Click below to find a sermon for you and your church. 

View and Download Sermons

 



Sabbath and Self-Care Grants

 

 

This application is for a grant of up to $500 to go towards sabbath rest and self-care. Any full-time clergy person under appointment may apply. Applications for the first round of these grants are due by June 30, ,2021.

Acceptable uses of grant money include, but are not limited to: time spent away (hotel cost, transportation, leisure activities, attending a retreat), purchasing something that will help you care for yourself (bike, gym membership, meal subscription service, spa day, art classes), or another creative and meaningful purchase that will allow you to better care for yourself and your family.

Apply Today
After you have used the funds granted, we ask that you submit a brief description of how this grant impacted you, your family, or your ministry, and what benefits you derived from it.

 



Employee Assistance Program
 

 

In a concerted effort to support clergy and their families during this time, the Conference Office has instituted an important new benefit that is now available.

The Employee Assistance Program offers services at no cost to help in times like these. 

Benefits include:   

  • Counseling with a therapist is available to you and your family to help process stress and worry and work toward coping skills. Counseling is available in-
  • person, via phone, in-the-moment or online.
  • Legal and financial consultations and extensive online resources can help you get important life documents organized and feel more control about the future.
  • Health Resource Library includes handouts, short videos and recommended apps to help you feel more resilient and calm in anxious or hard times.
  • Work/Life referrals are references to outside people and resources that can help you with tasks that feel overwhelming such as child care, household help, etc.

Learn More

 


 

Spiritual Direction

 

 

From ResourceUMC:  The quest for spiritual direction is as old as the need of sojourners struggling to find someone to walk alongside them. The term "spiritual direction," according to the Rev. Dwight Judy, draws from the rich legacy of ecumenical Christian tradition. It particularly focuses on the men and women of the 1st through 5th centuries who left their homes for monastic life in the desert. Other Christians saw them as individuals with particular wisdom and some informally sought out these abbas and ammas for advice.

You might find yourself in need of spiritual direction and we are equipped here in Louisiana to help.

We have several certified Spiritual Directors here in Louisiana who are able to meet with you virtually during this time. Simply click the button below to see a list of individuals available for you to contact.

Special Note: Each spiritual director has her/his own specific instructions and suggestions. 

Spiritual Direction

 



Illness Due to COVID

 

If you are exposed to COVID and need to quarantine, or if you become ill due to COVID, please let your District Superintendent know so that they can support and work with you to help take whatever next steps are needed.

 


Ideas? Suggestions?
 

Do you have an idea or a suggestion for our Clergy Support Resource page? We would love to hear from you, please reach out via email

Contact Us →

 

 

 

 

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