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.
August 1, 2016 Edition
Wednesday, August 17, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
“Listening to the Heartbeat of God—The Celtic Journey”
Jesuit Retreat Center, Parma, OH
View brochure for more information.
"It is good to renew ourselves, from time to time, by closely examining the state of our souls, as if we had never done it before; for nothing tends more to the full assurance of faith, than to keep ourselves by this means in humility, and the exercise of all good works."
- John Wesley
"To kick a ball skillfully you need a coach, to learn swimming you need a coach, and to move to a place where you are unshakably [resting in the joy of God’s love], you definitely need a coach.”
- Sri Ravi Shankar
We in Pastoral Care are really excited about our affiliation with the fellowship of East Ohio Conference Spiritual Directors. Over the last year we have been in conversations about what spiritual direction is, it’s benefits and how to make it more accessible to our pastors and congregations. Bishop William Hutchison, formerly of the Louisiana Conference, said that pastors who were engaged in spiritual direction tend to be “‘. . . less reactionary, less judgmental, more centered, and more reflective. They search for deeper answers.’” And we might add, as a results of these benefits to our clergy personally, their leadership is more God focused and their congregations more Christ centered. And, when our laity are engaged in spiritual direction, what a powerful force of God’s love to make and mature disciples for the transformation of the world!
Please find a brochure for Spiritual Direction on our sidebar, and a bio and contact information of each of our directors.
What is Spiritual Direction?
By Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv, former Executive Director, Spiritual Directors International
"Spiritual direction explores a deeper relationship with the spiritual aspect of being human. Simply put, spiritual direction is helping people tell their sacred stories everyday.
Spiritual direction has emerged in many contexts using language specific to particular cultural and spiritual traditions. Describing spiritual direction requires putting words to a process of fostering a transcendent experience that lies beyond all names and yet the experience longs to be articulated and made concrete in everyday living. It is easier to describe what spiritual direction does than what spiritual direction is.
Our role is not to define spiritual direction, but to describe the experience.
Spiritual direction helps us learn how to live in peace, with compassion, promoting justice, as humble servants of that which lies beyond all names."
Want to know more about Christian spiritual direction?
By Gerald May, MD. Excerpted from Shalem News, Volume xxii, No. 1, Winter, 1998, "Varieties Of Spiritual Companionship”
"Most people would agree that spiritual direction means companionship with another person or group through which the Holy One shines with wisdom, encouragement and discernment. Some, however, expect this companionship to be of a professional nature, with a trained, supervised, and perhaps even certified spiritual director. Others see it as spontaneous and gifted, strongly resisting signs of professionalization.
Spiritual guidance can happen authentically in a vast variety of forms. The many forms can be divided into two major groups: Formal spiritual direction and informal spiritual companionship. Formal spiritual direction includes relationships that are explicitly defined as spiritual direction with a clear separation of roles between spiritual director and spiritual directee. Meetings are usually scheduled in advance on a regular basis, and a spiritual directee normally has only one formal director.
Informal spiritual companionship is characterized by a lack of structure and role definition. These relationships are not considered exclusive, and most people have several such companionships. Meetings tend to be irregular and spontaneous. There is nearly always some atmosphere of mutuality, and each person retains his or her own locus of discernment. There is no notion of providing a service, and fees are out of the question."
Holy listening: The Spiritual Direction Movement
by Amy Frykholm
When Angela Reed was in seminary, she found her studies intellectually stimulating, but she felt that something was missing. Seminary life involved "a great deal of talk of how we know about God, but almost nothing of knowing God, and that grated on my soul," Reed recalls. When she heard about an opportunity to meet with a spiritual director, she jumped at the chance.
Reed began meeting with a Roman Catholic woman who invited her to watch for the presence of God in everyday life. A typical session included a period of silence, some kind of spiritual practice, and time to reflect on what she had been experiencing lately in prayer and in life. Her director suggested practices that pushed Reed to explore new ways of relating to God. At one point, the director encouraged Reed to use hand motions in prayer—a kind of "body prayer."
That practice was at first uncomfortable for Reed, but she tried it. By this time, she trusted her director and knew that the relationship was moving her toward a deeper relationship with God, a relationship that knit together her body, mind and heart, her thinking and her actions.
Reed is now a seminary professor herself, at Truett Seminary in Waco, Texas, and she has a special interest in the place of spiritual guidance for congregations and for seminary students. . .
Spiritual direction offers a way to attend to God's presence in one's life in the context of a trusted relationship. Spiritual direction "is not about what we do, but about who we are," says Reed. . .
Pastors who are involved in spiritual direction—as both recipients and providers—find themselves immersed in spiritual friendships and companionships. And that experience can be transformative. United Methodist bishop William Hutchinson of the Louisiana Conference (home to the Academy for Spiritual Leadership) observes that the growth of spiritual direction among clergy in his area has had a significant, if subtle, impact. Clergy who are actively engaged in spiritual direction tend to be "less reactionary, less judgmental, more centered, more reflective. They search for deeper answers."
For many involved in this movement, spiritual direction is a crucial resource for the church today. With its attention to the inward journey, it attends to a widespread craving for authentic spirituality, but without pandering to the vagaries of consumer culture. It strengthens individual commitments while fostering deeper communities.
Sacred chants sung in deep, sonorous voices born of long practice and devotion, are extraordinarily soothing. They induce tranquility by easing the turmoil of thoughts and emotions, bring release for a while from daily anxieties and pains, and, most importantly, evoke a sense of the Divine.
The psycho-physical benefits of chant are fairly well-established today. Researchers point to salutary body-mind effects: slowing down of metabolism, steadying of pulse, normalizing of blood-pressure levels, reduction in rates of respiration and heart beat. Tangible relief from psychological tensions and strains has also been claimed.
Extremely desirable as these benefits are in our fast-paced world, the value of sacred chant, as all religious traditions stress, goes beyond psycho-physical wellbeing: it is a transformative spiritual practice that can open the doors to the timeless.Find out more ...
Look forward to seeing everyone in September. Watch for notice.
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 Batchlor-Glader – email@example.com
Harry Finkbone - Finkbone1@gmail.com
Karen Hollingsworth – firstname.lastname@example.org
Liz Nau – email@example.com
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Palmer - email@example.com
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – firstname.lastname@example.org
Valerie Stultz - email@example.com
Carol Topping - firstname.lastname@example.org
Two Halves of Life: The Purpose of the Law
by Richard Rohr
The language of the first half of life and the language of the second half of life are almost two different vocabularies, known only to those who have been in both of them. The advantage of those on the further journey is that they can still remember and respect the first language and task. They have transcended but also included all that went before. In fact, if you cannot include and integrate the common sense lessons of the first half of life, I doubt if you have moved to the second. Never throw out the baby with the bathwater. People who know how to creatively break the rules also know why the rules are there in the first place. Matthew 5 quotes Jesus six times, "The law says . . ., but I say. . . ." Jesus doesn't throw out the law. He just goes further with it. Often it takes an initial reliance on some outer authority to send us on the path toward our own inner authority. This is what Paul is saying in Romans and Galatians. Paul brilliantly holds the law and freedom together. It's never either/or thinking for him, although Paul is often read that way.
We must love and use the law not for its own sake, but for the sake of getting us started on the journey. What is the law's goal? What is it leading us toward? Paul says, "The law was our babysitter until the Christ came, and then we could be legitimated by faith" (see Galatians 3:24). It's a daring line. We must learn the first half of life's lessons and internalize them before moving on to the second half of life.
The point is not to get rid of the law, nor is it to glibly obey the law. The purpose of the law is to make us struggle with it long enough so that we can find its real purpose. It's in the struggle that we learn. Ask yourself, "What is the message in this for me? Why do I continually have difficulty following this law? Where is this desire or addiction coming from? What is it telling me about the nature of my soul?" The point is to bring awareness to the struggle, to let it teach you, and to let it lead you to a new place.
A growing discrimination between means and ends is the litmus test of whether you are moving in the right direction. All the world religions at the mature levels say similar things. For some reason, religious people tend to confuse the means with the actual goal. In the beginning, you tend to think that God really cares about your exact posture, the exact day of the week for public prayer, the authorship and wording of your prayers, and other such things. Once your life has become a constant communion, you know that all the techniques, formulas, sacraments, and practices were just a dress rehearsal for the real thing--life itself--which can actually become a constant intentional and loving prayer. Your conscious and loving existence gives glory to God.Read online ...
4 Signs You Might Have Messed Up Your Metabolism
by Michelle Pellizzon
Eating six small meals a day will not speed up your metabolism. In fact, it might even mess with your body’s ability to burn calories.
There are a lot of little things that dieters do to lose weight quickly that end up sabotaging their health (and waistlines) in the long run. A recent study followed obese participants from the weight loss TV show “The Biggest Loser” for up to six years, and found that 13 of the 14 contestants examined had slower metabolisms during and after the show than they did before. As a result, many of them have gained back the hundreds of pounds they’d lost during taping, which involves intensive dieting and exercise.
Extreme calorie restriction, juice “cleansing,” and overtraining can all cause the body’s metabolism to go haywire—and even do permanent damage. Pretty scary news for anyone who’s trying to desperately lose some extra “fluff.” But it’s not just people trying to drop weight who might have a problem. If you’re constantly low-energy or always battling a cold, you might have a dysfunctional metabolism.
Here are four common signs you’ve sent your metabolism reeling, and how to get a reset.
1. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis
Clinical dry skin diagnoses like eczema and psoriasis can be painful and uncomfortable. Even the most emollient lotions and oils don’t offer relief for some sufferers, and rough patches can crop up at completely random and inopportune times (like right before bathing suit season). . . .
2. Inability to handle stress
Stress is a pretty normal part of life. It’s not just the sense of urgency that you feel when a work deadline is looming—anything from a challenging workout to not getting enough rest to emotional turmoil can trigger stress in our bodies.
Usually we can bounce back from these events easily, and don’t even really notice that they’re bothering us. But if your body has a hard time recovering from everything, whether it be a seasonal cold or a particularly demanding day at work, adrenal fatigue—often a symptom of a metabolism problem—could be to blame. . . .
3. Can’t lose weight
Seems obvious, but weight loss and metabolic function are intrinsically tied. Slashing calories in order to lose a little more weight—to minimal results—is incredibly frustrating. But if there’s something funky going on with the way your body processes and uses energy (calories), it’ll be really hard to drop pounds. Living on a low-calorie diet messes with your metabolism because your body will think that you’re in danger; check out the recommendation for average calories per day here. Basically, if your brain believes that you’re in the middle of the woods literally starving, it will tell your body to stop using extra energy in an attempt to conserve calories. And that’s the opposite of what you want, right?
The first step is to stop stressing the body by limiting calories and instead to focus on eating whole, real foods (not fake sugars and diet foods) that help nourish you.
4. Erratic sleep patterns
There are a whole host of things that throw your sleep cycle off: anxiety, stress, digestion, inflammation. But if you’re constantly battling fatigue but can’t seem to fall asleep at night, it could be that your metabolism could use a reset. A study completed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine links irregular sleep patterns to subpar metabolic function, especially among midlife working women.
How to fix it
If any of these signs seem familiar, it’s worth heading to the doctor to confirm whether or not your metabolism is off, and make sure there’s not a greater issue at play. The general takeaways to prevent metabolism issues: Don’t crash diet, don’t exercise like crazy, and don’t starve yourself if you’re trying to lose weight. In moderation, exercise and healthy eating are amazingly effective ways to balance hormonal levels and jumpstart your metabolism.
Need a little help? [Try a detox meal plan] . . . that’s loaded with healthy, nutritious foods that will leave you feeling vibrant and energized. Try it, or any meal plan that has a balance of healthy fats, protein, and vegetables, to take a little stress off your body, allow it to bounce back, and start working even better than before.
If you have any questions or issues you would like for us to address or would like to get email alerts when new reources have been posted please contact Howard Humphress at email@example.com or use our quick contact form.
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.
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