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.
October 26, 2015 Edition
Should your church start a nonprofit?
by Joy Skjegstad
A successful church program can become a “caged bird” -- constrained by the structure of a single congregation. By starting a separate nonprofit, a congregation can let its programs fly.
Enrollment in a 20-year-old church preschool program grows, but tuition no longer covers expenses. An afterschool program that once served 20 children now serves 200. A congregation wants to do development work in Haiti but needs support from other churches.
Every caregiver knows the challenge of guiding a preschooler from holding onto "mine" to sharing with others. Leaders often face a similar challenge with our institutions. The instinct to grasp and hold is very strong and yet ultimately self-defeating.
We face these concerns head-on two times a year, when building a budget and when raising money. No matter the specific time of year, the season for building a budget frequently involves fighting for your fair share.
Is it possible to cultivate a mindset within our congregations and institutions that would reframe the stresses of the budgeting and fundraising season? Could a "sharing" mindset open up more creativity and decrease the feeling of fighting for scarce resources
The mindset I have in mind is "generosity."
Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson led a team of sociologists at Notre Dame in examining what it means to be generous in America. They looked at the impact on quality of life of being generous and ungenerous. The result can be found in The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose.
The researchers identified the following five practices of generous people:
Where are the signs of generosity in your institution now? How can you participate, encourage and lift up those signs? What else can you do to reframe current practices so that they reflect a more generous spirit?Find out more ...
Creating Congregations of Generous People
by Michael Durall
Asking parishioners for money is very different from creating congregations of generous people. In this provocative book, stewardship consultant Michael Durall argues convincingly that annual pledge drives inadvertently perpetuate low-level and same-level giving in congregations. Written with the voice of experience, this book will help clergy and lay leaders initiate and sustain effective stewardship programs. Durall believes that asking for money eventually becomes routine, even tedious-but creating a congregation of generous people becomes ever more meaningful with passing time.
Fall for All Clergy Retreat
November 9 – 11
Grace Upon Grace: Leadership in the Wesleyan Tradition
Led by Rev. Dr. Steve Manskar
Carlisle Inn at Sugar Creek, Ohio
Registration due October 23
Four Stages of Life
by Richard Rohr
Hinduism teaches there are four major stages of life: 1) the student, 2) the householder, 3) the forest dweller (the "retiree" from business as usual), and 4) the wise or fully enlightened person "who is not overly attached to anything and is detached from everything" and thus ready for death. . . .
Western cultures tend to recognize and honor the first two stages at best. . . . My experience tells me that when you do not do the third and fourth stages, you actually lose both the skills and the elders to do the first and second stages too!
This is foundational to understanding the spiritual problems we are experiencing in Western religion and culture today, and probably why we now seem to have an epidemic of mental and emotional illness. It seems so many people are angry today, especially at religion itself. (Although I hope they do not waste too many years there.) They are angry because we do not honor variety, staging, interiority, or depth; but their attachment to that very anger becomes their major hindrance itself.
In the first half of life--the student and householder stages in Hinduism--the focus is on developing an ego, a separate self. It's all about being safe and law-abiding and doing the right practices. This is as it should be. It teaches the ego necessary impulse control. The problem is when we get stuck and stay here. Unless we move toward maturity, we will miss the real purpose and meaning of our existence and become over-identified with our small "faithful" self and our practices too often become catatonic, unconscious repetition. I know Christians who attend Mass every day or read the Bible every day and are still in the kindergarten of prayer and love.
The first half of life is about building a strong container; the second half is about discovering the contents the container was meant to hold. Yet far too often, solidifying one's personal container becomes a substitute for finding the contents themselves!
The second half of life--represented by the forest dweller and the wise, enlightened person--moves the willing individual beyond the basic needs for separateness, status, and security to an awareness of their eternal, unchangeable identity as one with others and with God. Your concern becomes not so much to have what you love, but to love what you have. In the second part of life you have a great sense of freedom, no longer attached to outcomes but intimately involved in the process and relationships. You can trust that all will be well because all is held together by Love and Divine Presence.
Meet: monthly 1 ½ hours
Where and when:
Alliance: Christ UMC, 470 E. Broadway – will not meet in November
Ashland: Christ UMC, 1140 Claremont Ave. – will not meet in November
Cleveland: East Shore UMC, 23002 Lakeshore Blvd., Euclid – First Thursdays, 1:30 PM
Medina: Granger UMC, 1235 Granger Rd. – Third Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Sandusky: Trinity UMC, 214 E. Jefferson St. – Second Thursdays, 2:30 PM
If you are interested in being part of one of these groups, it would be helpful if you let us know for planning purposes. For questions and to receive information about a particular group, please call our office 330-456-0486 or email us at 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
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
Close to the Ground: Sisters Shouting at Gods
by Geri Larkin
The Spirituality of Social Action:
I was raised to be a good girl. Embedded in this phrase was the admonition to never talk back to my elders, and I did OK until I was six years old. Then one summer Sunday, itching to go out to play, I asked to be excused from the formal dinner, and my father’s response was that I needed to stay at the table until he and my mother had finished their cigarettes. So I fixed him with a look of disgust and said, “Well, then, can I have a cigarette?”
Things went downhill from there. By the time I was ten I had been labeled a troublemaker for my overactive mouth.
So I stayed in the seminary, where I not only rediscovered my mouthiness. . . . The legacy of Zen will be its capacity to nurture in each of us a great fearlessness. As our hearts open, so does our sensitivity to the suffering around us—until suddenly one day we may find ourselves standing in front of tanks with a simple sign that says, “Please. Just stop.” Or maybe we’ll start visiting the charnel ground [the place where bodies are left to rot] of today’s society, the prisons: first, to witness their cruelties, and then to do what we can to help them downsize to fewer, smaller institutions of healing and safety. We’ll realize that every child is our child and that the whole earth is our backyard. So we’ll guerilla-garden, give up plastics, clean riverbeds, and plant vegetables to share. We’ll find a way to give books to the homeless kids in the shelters, along with shoes that fit. And when the situation calls for it, we’ll fearlessly yell at gods.
Because it’s the right thing to do.
5 Reasons You’re Always Hungry
by Liz English (Source: Health September 2015 Jessica Brown)
Are constant cravings adding inches to your waistline-and driving you crazy? Learn how to banish that bottomless pit.
Lunch (even thought it’s 10:30 in the morning) and sniff around the fridge 30 minutes after a big dinner. What’s behind that insatiable need to feed? In some cases, the problem may lie in subpar food choices. “Feeling full isn’t just a numbers game,” says Jennifer McDaniel, RDN, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “You can consume plenty of calories and still feel famished because you aren’t eating satisfying nutrient-dense foods.” But seemingly innocent everyday habits (like your smartphone addiction) can also send your appetite into overdrive. Read on for some easy ways to quiet those cravings-along with your growling stomach-for good.
Choose Beautiful | Women All Over The World Make A Choice: Dove Australia
Great video about how we see ourselves and how choice makes a difference. View below.
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.
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Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
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