By Anna Gillette, Greater New Jersey Annual Conference
Check your pulse. Is your heart beating too fast . . . too slow?
How’s your breathing? Can you take a deep breath?
Your color is off; let’s see if we can fix your circulation.
Your pupils are not responding to the light.
Lie very still.
Let’s get you moving.
Vital Congregations need vital leaders. How are your vital signs?
Clergy are among the unhealthiest professionals. As women clergy, we tend not only to our parishioners; we also care for our parents, our spouses, our children, our siblings, and our friends. By the nature of our calling, we are caregivers at work and at home, but we all too often forget to care for ourselves. By God’s grace eight clergywomen in the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference have come together to form a covenant group as part of the Clergywomen’s Health Initiative.
Dubbing ourselves “8 on Fire,” we are now in our second year together. We meet regularly to check our vital signs. How is my spiritual health, my physical health, my financial health, and my emotional health? Where am I life-filled; where am I lifeless? We check one another’s vital signs, we report on our own, and, with the help of a life coach, we are learning what it means to increase in vitality.
Together we laugh, soul-soaking laughter that heals all sorts of wounds. We cry as well, acknowledging the cleansing components of our shared tears. We are diverse in age, life stage, gifts, and personalities; but we are joined together by our gender, our calling, and our desire to be transformed by the renewing of our minds and hearts and souls. It is this bond, this togetherness that is slowly but surely allowing us to improve our vital signs. As our own vital signs improve, we find ourselves better equipped to help our congregations increase in vitality.
If you believe you would benefit from forming such a group, contact the Rev. Dr. HiRho Park at GBHEM. As we strive to bring congregations to life throughout our denomination, let us first check our own vital signs!
2019 – Unity in the Church
2018 – Claim Who We Are in Christ
2017 – Bodies, Oppression, and Gospel
2016 – Birthing a Worldwide Church
2015 – Clergywomen Lead Vital Congregations
2014 – Empowerment for All
2013 – What Next?
2012 – What Does the Lord Require of Us?
2011 – See, I am Doing a New Thing
2010 – Voicing Truth With Grace
PDF archive – 1987 to 2009
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WellSprings, A Journal of United Methodist Clergywomen, is published by the Division of Ordained Ministry, General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Editor: HiRho Y. Park
Managing Editor: Barbara A. Dick
Editorial Circle: Patricia Bonilla, Neelley Hicks, Anita Phillips, Jacqui Rose-Tucker, Trudy Hawkins Stringer