February 19, 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 ...
Lent is a time of self-reflection and self-denial. In our reflections during this season may we wake up and discover how precious to and loved by God we are. In our denial may we let go of our limiting beliefs about ourselves and others, our judgments and preferences, and with all our sisters and brothers and all creation run joyously into the loving arms of Jesus.
We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. . . . Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. —General Omar Bradley
Jesus put it so powerfully in his great final prayer, “I pray that all may be one” (John 17:21). Or as Julian [of Norwich] put it, “By myself I am nothing at all, but in general, I am in the oneing of love. For it is in this oneing that the life of all people exists.”
Many teachers have made the central, but often-missed, point that unity is not the same as uniformity. Unity, in fact, is the reconciliation of differences, and those differences must first be maintained—and then overcome by the power of love! You must actually distinguish things and separate them before you can spiritually unite them, usually at cost to yourself (see Ephesians 2:14-16). If only we had made that simple clarification, so many problems—and overemphasized, separate identities—could have moved to a much higher level of love and service.
God is otherness and diversity, a pluriformity. The basic problem of “the one and the many” is overcome in God’s very nature. God is a mystery of relationship, and the truest relationship is love. Infinite Love preserves unique truths, protecting boundaries while simultaneously bridging them. While these two tasks seem initially like opposites, and impossible to reconcile, oneing is God’s essential task and the goal of all authentic spirituality.
The Hedgehog Concept: Using the Power of Simplicity to Succeed
by the Mind Tools Content Team
If you could choose to be a fox or a hedgehog, which would you rather be?
Many people would choose to be a fox. After all, foxes are beautiful, sleek and cunning. Hedgehogs, which are small, prickly creatures found in Europe, Asia and Africa, are quite the opposite: slow, quiet and plodding.
So what do foxes and hedgehogs have to do with your organization's success? In short, everything.
In this article, we'll look at the Hedgehog Concept, and we'll discuss why it pays to be a hedgehog in business.
The Hedgehog Concept is based on an ancient Greek parable that states: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing."
In the parable, the fox uses a variety of strategies to try to catch the hedgehog. It sneaks, pounces, races, and plays dead. And yet, every time, it walks away defeated, with a nose full of spines. The fox never learns that the hedgehog knows how to do one thing perfectly: defend itself.
Philosopher Isaiah Berlin took this parable and applied it to the modern world in his 1953 essay, "The Hedgehog and the Fox." Berlin divided people into two groups: foxes and hedgehogs.
In his essay, he argued that foxes are sleek and shrewd animals that pursue many goals and interests at the same time. Because of this wide variety of interests and strategies, their thinking is scattered and unfocused, and they are limited in what they can achieve in the long run.
Hedgehogs, however, are slow and steady, and people often overlook them because they're quiet and unassuming. But, unlike the fox, they are able to simplify the world and focus on one overarching vision. It's this principle that guides everything they do, and helps them succeed against all odds.
The Bishops of The United Methodist Church are calling on members of the denomination to deny themselves during the 2018 Lenten Season for the sake of the kingdom of Jesus Christ and to set aside self-interest so that others may have a more abundant life.
In a message sent on behalf of UMC bishops to United Methodists throughout the world, Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough challenged fellow Christians to reflect on the meaning of Jesus’ words in Mark 8:34-35, where he said: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it.”
Bishop Ough said losing one’s life for the sake of the gospel means that one has to live the same purposeful life Jesus lived. “It means to deny our preferences for the sake of Jesus’ kingdom purposes. It means to set aside our self-interest so that others may have a more abundant life. It means we are saved in order to participate in the salvation of others. It means our hearts will break for the very situations that break the heart of God.”
“During this Lenten season, let us continue to live out our mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Together, let us lose our lives for the sake of the Gospel,” Bishop Ough said in the message.
Silent Retreat at the Abbey of Genesee
by Karen Hollingsworth
It’s taken me seven years serving as pastor to take a silent retreat. My ego told me I didn’t have time to take a retreat. There are meetings to attend, sermons to write, studies to lead, Charge Conference reports to complete, and most importantly serving as pastor to a congregation that I love. And so, seven years passed until my body and spirit said, “Enough.”
In mid-October, I drove to the Abbey of Genesee in Piffard, New York for a silent retreat. The Abbey sits high atop one of the beautiful rolling hills of western New York, providing an expansive view of the countryside. Dry cornfields, as far as the eye can see, surround the city and the monastery. A simple sign on Route 63 points the way down a country road to the Abbey, where a hand painted sign directs you to a drive leading to the entrance. A quarter mile further down the asphalt road is the Bethlehem retreat house where I stayed with my companions: a few priests, a Catholic sister, and a few other travelers seeking to rest in God.
The simplicity of the retreat house reminds me of Matthew 6:32, where Jesus says, “Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ . . . Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Each of us had a small room on the second floor of the house furnished with a single bed, a towel and washcloth, a desk with a lamp, and a chair.
My housemates and I were there for the same purpose, to spend time in the quiet with God. We set the table, ate, and cleaned up in silence. There was a quiet comfort in the shared experience of eating our meals together in silence, allowing us to slow down, taste our food, and appreciate all that God has provided.
So what do you do on a silent retreat? You rest, read, pray, listen, and walk along paths leading to the monastery. Without the distractions of everyday life: no TV, Wi-Fi, radio, newspaper, and cell phone, you begin to notice things like milkweed pods full of seeds—ready to be blown to the wind; chestnuts scattered under trees; red berries on plants; and the fluttering of the orange and black wings of a monarch butterfly. In evening you notice the big dipper hanging against the backdrop of the night sky, and in the early morning you are greeted by the waning crescent moon. Whether at the Abbey or at home God is all around us, but we often fail to notice the work of God’s hand in the buzz of our everyday lives. A silent retreat allowed me to slow down and see things I don’t normally see, and I was grateful.
The Abbey was founded in 1957, the same year I was born. The Abbey is the home to 32 monks. Some of monks, who have lived at the Abbey for well over 40 years, are stooped over with age and use canes for support. Regardless of their age or their health, the monks faithfully gather in the worship space each day to pray the Divine Office: Vigils at 3:30 a.m., Lauds at 6:30 a.m., Sext at 12:00 p.m., Vespers at 5:30 p.m., and Compline at 7:00 p.m. I took such great comfort in knowing that as I was sleeping in the deep of night, the monks were praying the psalms. Each day I rose at 5 a.m. to drive to the monastery for Lauds, to participate in the responsive singing of the psalms. It was like a balm soothing my soul.
I suspect there are other pastors like me who wait too long to go on retreat. I write this simply to encourage my colleagues to take time away in the quiet with God. However, silent retreats are not just for pastors. Consider taking time away to be with God. God knows you need it.
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: email@example.com
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 - firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Batchler-Glader – email@example.com
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Joyce Gordon - firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Hollingsworth - email@example.com
Liz Nau – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hazel Partington – lakehavenministries.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – email@example.com
Judy Ringler -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – email@example.com
Valerie Stultz - firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Topping - email@example.com
Laura Tradowsky -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Laurie Tucker - email@example.com
Awakening to Who We Really Are: Freeing Ourselves from Harmful Beliefs
by Tara Brach
Universally we get into a self-ego trance. And through this trance we enter ourselves and each other with our thoughts, judging, pushing, pinching, controlling, defending. This trance is fueled by thoughts and beliefs we have about ourselves and the world we live in: “I’m not enough,” “Something’s wrong with me,” “No one could really love me,” “The world is unsafe,” “No one can be trusted,” “I’m better than them.” As we awaken from this trance, become free of our self-ing behavior, we come home to who we really are, and the light of the stars start shining through us.
Questions to Bring You Closer Together
by Temma Ehrenfeld
Give your relationship a boost. These questions will help you deepen your relationship with your spouse, friend, staff or co-worker; according to social psychology researcher Arthur Aron of the Interpersonal Relationships Lab at Stony Brook University in New York, who published his results in "The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness" in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (1997).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or use our quick contact form.
Or contact our office at email@example.com or call 330-456-0486.
The East Ohio Conference Pastoral Care Office:
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Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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