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Taking Care of Our Clergy

From Canon Greg Goebel:

Our priests and deacons have been reporting long hours, lots of stress, and at the same time, amazing ministry opportunities. In conference calls with Rectors, and contact with deacons and assisting clergy, the Bishops report that morale is high, and so is fatigue.

During this next two weeks, I would encourage all clergy to take one week off, or at the very least minimum of two days, completely  away from church ministry. These few days away from church ministry, to re-charge and take care of personal business, will greatly assist the Church its mission in the next few months. Of course, many of them are caring for young children or are bi-vocational and cannot take two days off of other responsibilities. But away from church responsibilities will lighten the load.

I would also encouraging all lay leaders to support deacons and priests in having dedicated time off (in which only one designated person contacts them in case of emergency). Please help facilitate – and guard- this time.

Baptist Press has a great article about clergy care in its recent edition. This includes rest, prayer, exercise, and time away from church ministry.

In the article, Daniel G. Bagby writes,

The novel coronavirus crisis is creating a different and deeper kind of compassion fatigue. Among other demands, pastors and other ministers are spending more time than ever utilizing a different mode of communication, including technology tools that are unfamiliar to many of us.

Remember the three most common “clergy responses” to overextension: depression, hypersensitivity and compulsivity. Remember what you have undoubtedly preached to your congregants: that Jesus took time off from the crowds, his followers and his inner circle of 12 disciples (see more).

Clergy need the support of the church leaders to insist that this time be taken. In a multi-clergy church, each person can be given time away. In a single clergy church, lay people will need to be designated as pastoral contacts for the people. The name and phone number of the contact person should be published so everyone knows who to contact, and that the priest or deacon is taking time away.

Your pastors are working more now, in more challenging times, than before. Please pray for them, and please join us in supporting time away for refreshment.

We are praying for you this Eastertide!


by Canon Greg Goebel, Canon to the Ordinary and Chief of Staff