| National Catholic
The Independent Newsweekly
| Issue Date: March
American Baptist churches send clergy to the gym
American Baptists have made clergy health a priority under a under a five-year program adopted by their Ministerial Leadership Commission. The program, called the Clergy Health Initiative, aims at making the well-being of [the churchs] ministerial leaders a core value.
As part of this program, the church leadership last November awarded 35 wellness grants that ministerial leaders can use for health-related activities such as memberships in local health or fitness clubs, family memberships at YMCAs or retreats at American Baptist conference centers or camps. Each grant was for $300.
The Clergy Health Initiative seeks to promote preventative measures to guard against ministry burnout, physical deterioration, and dysfunctional personal, family and social life. Announcing the program two years ago, the leadership commission noted that it was each local congregations responsibility to help healthy clergy stay healthy while helping others to reach acceptable levels of well-being.
The commission defines clergy health to include balanced nutrition, emotional well-being, periods of spiritual reflection and a sense of fulfillment from ones job.
As part of the health initiative, the commission also promotes an annual Clergy Appreciation Season that runs October through November. The commission has posted on its Web site (www.abc-mlc.org/clergy_health) 10 ways congregations can show appreciation for their clergy.
Ministerial leaders cannot be healthy by themselves, said the commissions executive director, the Rev. Ivan George. Providing the wellness grant and performing other acts of support during Clergy Appreciation Season and throughout the year are ways in which the local congregation becomes a partner with the ministerial leader in the pursuit of healthy lifestyles.
-- Religion News Service
National Catholic Reporter, March 5, 2004
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