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Not Prince Hamlet

"Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse."

Retreat

Monday, January 09, 2006

I begin a three-day retreat at the Heartland Presbyterian Center this afternoon (Monday). The retreat is organized by the Synod of Mid-America, and it's aimed specifically at people who are in their first five years of ordained ministry. The thinking is that the burnout rate of ministers in their first three to five years is disproportianately high, so a retreat like this might do something to counteract all of the forces aligning to chase us from the church.

From the pre-retreat material I've gathered that we'll spend a good deal of time talking talking about and working through issues of pastoral identity. Whatever.

The irony is that the timing of this retreat couldn't be worse. Meredith's in the midst of her most difficult rotation to date (and I've already left her alone for one four-day stretch this month), we're leaving for Africa in about a month, there's a church officers retreat to plan, a family crisis, an annual congregational meeting to put together and reports to write, people to visit, and so on and so on. So in the middle of all this, I'm going to "retreat" to a camp for three days.

They tell you when they release you from seminary that, in full-time church ministry, you have to be intentional about taking time to care for yourself. Most of us don't do that very well; days off get filled with very un-off-day-like things, vacations get interrupted (that hasn't happened to me yet), and a whole host of other things make it so that it's more rewarding to work than it is to rest. Thankfully, the organizers of this retreat put at the center of it a covenant; they forced the participants as well as the sessions of their churches to sign on to a covenant stating that they would take this time, that they would release one another for this time.

Without that covenant I probably would have bailed on this thing already.

Thank God for covenants.
posted by Not Prince Hamlet, 8:43 AM

3 Comments:

So how did the retreat go?
commented by Anonymous Brian, 9:16 PM  
It went well for the most part, but there was this annoying "panel of pastors" at one point trying to tell us how to do our jobs. Please.

Actually, as I put on my evaluation, that panel was the most helpful part of the whole experience. And fun. I mean, where else can you hear a clergy person use the sentence: "My children know what endorphines are, and they know when mommy doesn't have them"?

It was great.
commented by Blogger Rocky, 5:04 AM  
What are endorphines, anyway?
commented by Anonymous Brian, 10:18 AM  

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