The impact of the Clergy Renewal Program on Trinity congregation has been positive and strong. Lay persons were empowered, and the parish was stable both during Rev. King’s renewal leave and all of the other clergy and staff changes. Some have stated that the careful planning by our sabbatical committee contributed to the congregation’s success.
It can be difficult for clergypersons to achieve and maintain a healthy plan for self-care. It is easy to become depleted of your energy, self-care and spiritual practices because you are constantly giving so much of yourself and your personal time away with very little regard for needed time for renewal. The impact of my renewal leave experience was very positive in this regard...
Resting was not easy at first. It seemed that everything needed to be done. I had to delegate different tasks to others so I could rest. I also had to deliberately turn off my cell phone to provide separation from the congregation, denomination and other persons. I had to practice learning to say “No.”
We recognized that while our pastor occasionally took vacations during more than 30 years of his pastorate, he had never taken a long time away from us. So, in seeking the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program grant, it was our goal to say to him: “We love you, appreciate your hard work with us, and want to see you and Sister Shirley take some time and enjoy doing what you want.”
The renewal leave provided me the first extended time for refocusing and personal renewal. In the past I would take perhaps a week or 2 or 3 days, but even so, I was focusing on my next Sunday sermon and did not have the freedom to really just zero in on me. During this time, I connected again with something that had been one of my early aspirations – writing.
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