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Published on July 9th, 2014 | by ABCUSA

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The Ministers Council Awarded Catalyst Grant from the Pastoral Excellence Network

VALLEY FORGE, PA (ABNS 7/9/14)—The Ministers Council has been awarded a Catalyst Grant from the Pastoral Excellence Network for its Clergy Health Initiative. The initiative seeks to take a holistic approach to clergy health, focusing on the areas of self-care, physical wellness, financial wellness, and retirement readiness. To achieve this focus, the Ministers Council is partnering with MMBB Financial Services, the American Baptist Foundation, and the American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS). Encouraging clergy peer groups to covenant together and hold one another accountable for health goals, the initiative will track the efforts of the groups and document how coming together as peers aids in the achievement of health goals.

The overarching objective of the Clergy Health Initiative is to improve clergy health by leveraging the learning of improved wellbeing in clergy who come “Together in Ministry.”

The initiative hopes to demonstrate that as health goals are shared and covenants of support are made, individuals are enabled to achieve their goals. Resources will be developed to aid in the assessment of clergy health for the initiative. A series of checklists and tools will be assembled so that an individual may make a baseline determination regarding their own health in terms of self-care, physical wellness, financial wellness and retirement readiness. Moreover, as self-selected peer groups are formed and health goals are shared, the project will document the outcomes of peer group interactions and provide resources to encourage group interaction. The desire is to understand whether coming together as peer groups is a means for promoting and improving clergy health outcomes.

“There is a burgeoning crisis with regard to clergy health,” said Rev. Dr. Debora Jackson, Executive Director of the Ministers Council. Studies demonstrate that clergy suffer higher rates of obesity, hypertension, high blood pressure, and stress than the general population. “We are so busy caring for others that we often neglect caring for ourselves,” saysJackson. “Thus the hope of this initiative is that as we covenant together, we can help one another be more intentional about our self-care and physical health, and engage in the planning necessary to ensure our financial well-being for the present and into retirement.”

The initiative will kickoff on August 13, 2014 during the Ministers Council Senate/Annual Meeting. The study is seeking a minimum of 10 clergy groups to participate in this year-long initiative. Interested groups can obtain more information by contacting the Ministers Council at (800) ABC-3USA ext. 2334.

The Pastoral Excellence Network, a program of Lilly Endowment Inc. at Christian Theological Seminary, seeks to create and foster a network of organizations committed to encouraging and supporting excellence in pastoral ministry.  The Network helps churches and church-related organizations provide opportunities for pastors to find support and engage in learning throughout their professional lives.”

The Ministers Council, ABCUSA, an independent, non-profit organization of ordained, commissioned and lay Christian leaders who are serving American Baptist Churches, works to nurture, encourage and strengthen ministerial leaders by providing fellowshipping opportunities; spiritual enrichment; and educational programming to fuel the effectiveness of the men and women called of God to advance the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with over 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.


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