January 8, 2018
Find tips and resources for self-care, material to assist you in providing pastoral care, and general information to help you in your practice of ministry. Information will be updated every two weeks concurrent with the East Ohio E-news. Archives Here ...
A Way Forward and Perennial Tradition
For as long as there have been humans on Earth, it seems we have struggled with the problem of unity and diversity. The dualistic mind, which most of us were taught to emphasize, is incapable of creating unity. It “smartly” divides reality into binaries. It cannot help but choose sides. Can you think of an era, nation, religion, or culture in which the majority has not opposed otherness? When there was no obvious “other” around (for example, sinners, Jews, or Muslims), Christianity divided itself into warring groups calling each other heretics. Yet underneath the very real differences between religions and peoples lies a unifying foundation. I see that unifying foundation as the continual bubbling up of certain constants in all of the world religions, or if you will, the perennial tradition.
[The] perennial philosophy . . . is the gold within the sectarian dross of every great religion. —Alan Watts
Stilling the Storm: Worship and Congregational Leadership in Difficult Times
by Kathleen Smith
When congregations go through difficult times, worship will both reflect and influence those difficulties. The practice of worship itself can be a key part of the congregation's healing process. Teacher and consultant Kathleen Smith successfully demonstrates this truth in Stilling the Storm, a book for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the ways that worship intertwines with the life and health of a congregations. There are three main types of difficulty congregations can face: times of crisis, transition, and conflict. Smith considers their differences, similarities, and implications for worship, and explains the congregational dynamics that accompany such times and the roles that leaders play. She reviews basic principles of worship and the ways that unique moments and regular habits of worship shape the congregation. For each type of difficulty she suggests important themes for congregations and their worship planners. Smith explores the wide range of liturgical resources available for congregations going through difficult times and how those resources can best be shaped to fit the specific situation they are experiencing. A perceptive guide to the worship we offer to God in all times and situation, Stilling the Storm is an important resource for all congregations of all worship traditions.
Creativity in Crisis: Responding to Community Hardship from Congregational Health
by Ryn Nasser
In this reflection from 2009, a pastor and consultant reminds us that crises ought to bring out the best in people of faith. They provide us an opportunity to think more clearly about God, work more strategically in Christ's service, and care more deeply for those with the greatest need.View here ...
Fear of Transformation: A Guided Meditation for the New Year
adapted from Essene Book of Days
Imagine your life is a series of trapeze swings. You are hanging on to a trapeze bar, swing along, back and forth, back and forth, suspended by your sheer determination.
You are hanging on for dear life to your "trapeze-bar-of-the-moment." It carries you along a certain steady rate of swing and you have the feeling you’re in control of your life. You know most of the right questions and even some of the right answers.
But…as you are swinging along, back and forth, back and forth, you look ahead into the distance and see another trapeze bar swinging toward you. It’s calling to you, and you KNOW that this new trapeze bar has your name on it. It is your next step, your growth, your aliveness coming to get you. You know in your heart that for you to grow, you must release your grip on the present well-known bar to move to the new one.
You swing, back and forth, back and forth, clutching tightly at your bar.
You pray you won’t have to grab the new bar. But in your knowing place, you know you must totally release your grip on your old bar. Your grip tightens. You know you will have to hurtle across space before you can grab onto the new bar. You are filled with fear. It doesn’t matter that in all your previous hurtles across the void of unknowing you have always made it. There is a place in you that is afraid you will miss – that you will be crushed on unseen rocks in the unseen chasm between the bars.
You know there are no guarantees, no nets, no insurance policies. You must have faith, but faith is sometimes hard to come by. You know hanging onto that old bar is no longer an option for you. Knowing that does not take away your fear. You know that letting go of your accustomed-to trapeze bar will hurl you across the dark void of “the past is gone, the future is not yet here.”
You are swinging, swinging. Your old bar is familiar. It may not be the best fit for you, but you know your old bar well. You don’t want change. You don’t want that transition time. But…you also know transition is the only place real change occurs. You know transition is the only place where you can be truly transformed.
You clutch tightly to your familiar trapeze bar. It is real. Is the new one coming towards you real? You hope so. You see the void in between. It seems scary, confusing, disorienting. You hope that if you HAVE to let go, this void will be gone quickly and you will not be aware of it.
However, in your heart-of-hearts, you know the transition zone – the void – is the only real thing. The bars are illusions we dream up to avoid the void, where the real change, the real growth occurs for us. Transition zones in our lives are incredibly rich places. They should be honored, even savored. You feel they are places that can be the most expansive moments of your life. You wonder if you have the courage to hang out there, in that void between your secure trapeze bar and the one coming at you. And finally you realize, hurtling through the void, you just may learn to fly.
Walking with the Wise Men: A Meditation on the Feast of Epiphany
by Charles Pope
There are so many wonderful details in the Epiphany story: the call of the Gentiles, the nations, and their enthusiastic response, the significance of the star they see and the gifts they bring, the dramatic interaction with Herod and their ultimate rejection of him in favor Christ.
In this meditation, I would like especially to follow these wise men in their journey of faith. We can observe how they journey in stages from the dim light of a star to the bright and glorious Light of Jesus Christ. And, of course to authentically encounter the Lord is to experience conversion. All the elements of this story serve ultimately to cause them to “return to their country by another route.” Let’s look at the stages of their journey to Jesus, let’s walk the way of the wise men.Entire meditation here ...
What Christmas Can Teach Us About New Year’s Resolutions
by Omar Al-Rikabi
Just a reminder we’re still in the season of Christmas. . . All our goals for self-improvement, built around the ambitions of who we want to be, what is important to us, or what we want to accomplish. A resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not to do something.”
Of course, at the end of one of the biggest food-fests of the year, from Thanksgiving to last night’s party, most of us resolve to eat better and lose weight. Then, when Valentine’s day comes around and we realize we’ve lost our resolve, we look to Lent as “New Year’s resolutions, take two.”
(Did I mention that this year Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s day? Good luck with that.)
To be like Christ is not a resolution, but a reorientation. Resolutions are about working harder, doing more, trying to improve our old nature. Attitude is a settled way of thinking.
And the attitude of Christ is about giving up, to be raised up again.
So instead of a list of goals for the year, how about a prayer? A daily declaration of our desire to have the same attitude of Christ. John Wesley gave us such a prayer. It comes from his covenant renewal service, which was typically done on or around the new year, but is a prayer for the whole year:
“I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you, praised for you or criticized for you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and fully surrender all things to your hope and service. And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth, let it be confirmed in heaven. Amen.”
Monthly Live Online Spiritual Practice Groups are being provided by East Ohio United Methodist Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling using ZOOM. The ZOOM format is very easily used by just responding to an invitation email and following the links; no subscription or downloads needed. These groups will be limited to 8-10 participates and will be added as they are populated. Current groups are meeting 1st Thursdays at 1:00 p.m. and 2nd Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.
The purpose of these groups is to create space for our souls to be nurtured by exploring a variety of spiritual experiences, spending time in meditation and through the fellowship and encouragement of other sojourners. We use the term “Practice” to indicate that these are groups engaged in the practice of spiritual formation.Please contact the Office of Pastoral Care for any questions and to be added to one of the groups. Phone: 330-456-0486. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Program in Pastoral Care and Counseling encourages the spiritual formation of our pastors believing a strong spiritual base is the greatest resource a church leader can possess. It helps us weather the many storms of ministry and deepens the incredible joys ministry provides. Following is a list of Spiritual Directors in our area. We encourage you to take advantage of this rich resource. This listing will appear in each edition of our bi-monthly webpage updates and new names and contact information will be provided as we learn of them and have permission to include them. If you are a director or know of a director that is not included here please let us know.
Debbie Baker - email@example.com
Bruce Batchler-Glader – firstname.lastname@example.org
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Joyce Gordon - email@example.com
Karen Hollingsworth - firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Nau – email@example.com
Hazel Partington – lakehavenministries.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Judy Ringler -- email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
Laura Tradowsky -- email@example.com
Laurie Tucker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Resolving to Lose Weight? We Gave Food-Tracking Apps a Try
Maria Godoy and Paige Vickers, NPR
Listen to Morning Edition: Exercise is great for your health. But if you’re looking to lose weight in the new year, you should know this: How much you eat ultimately matters more than how much you work out.
6 Things You Should Never Do After Eating
by Natural Ways
People usually lie down or sit comfortably in a chair after having dinner, but this is a big mistake you should never make. According to experts, these habits are highly dangerous and can put your health at risk. In this video I’m about to share with you 6 things you should never do after eating.
Passion Will Spark Your Resolutions, Not Pressure
by Elaine Smookler
Fuel your New Year's resolutions with intention, not nagging. Here are 7 steps to investigate what drives you, so you can hold firm to fresh habits in 2018.
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or would like to get email alerts when new resources have been posted please contact Howard Humphress at email@example.com or use our quick contact form.
Or contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-456-0486.
The East Ohio Conference Pastoral Care Office:
1445 Harrison Avenue NW · Suite 301
Canton, Ohio 44708
Toll Free: 866-456-3600
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
©2016 EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.