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.
December 7, 2015 Edition
Heal the Healer – A Day of Renewal for You
with psychologist Tom Holmes of Winged Heart
Friday, February 19, 2016
North Canton Faith UMC
Mass Murder and the Problem with Prayer
by Jonathan Merritt
By now, everyone with an internet connection knows about the San Bernardino, California shooting that claimed the lives of at least 14 people.
A tragedy like this, while deeply troubling, should not be surprising to those paying attention. As Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post reported in August, “we’re now averaging more than one mass shooting per day.” But the reaction on social media was less predictable.
From Senator Lindsey Graham to Governor George Pataki, Twitter and Facebook were peppered with comments from conservatives who promised their “thoughts and prayers” to the victims affected by the shooting. In response, many advocates of gun reform fired back with a round of “prayer shaming,” claiming that their sentiments were hollow because they were not backed up by tangible legislative proposals. The liberal watchdog website “Think Progress” even accusedthese well wishers of having been bought by the National Rifle Association.
It is impossible to judge these leaders’ true motives or whether they have actually been on bended knee since the news broke. But the problem with prayer is that it cannot be offered in isolation. Not when action is possible and necessary. This idea did not originate on social media. It is a biblical idea sewn throughout the New Testament, and those who oppose even the tiniest reforms to our gun laws must now reckon with it.
Helping Our Therapy Clients Cope with Alzheimer’s Disease:
Beating Memory Loss with Wisdom, Life Experience, and Intellectual Discipline
by Robert Hill
According to the 2010 Alzheimer’s Disease Fact and Figures, an estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, including 200,000 persons under the age of 65. About 14 percent of Americans aged 71 and older have dementia, a broader label for memory diseases of aging, not specifically Alzheimer’s—17 percent among women, 11 percent among men. Just because your mother or father didn’t contract Alzheimer’s disease doesn’t mean that you’re immune. The increase of average life expectancy puts even “long livers” into the high-risk category for memory impairment. The prevalence statistics increase in one’s ninth decade, so if you yourself aren’t afflicted with dementia when you’re 80, the chances are that at least 20 percent of clients in their 80s will be seeking your help for it.
Since our population is aging, memory decline is something middle aged and older clients are increasingly bringing to therapists [and pastors]. In fact, the first thing that most clients who make an appointment with me want is reassurance that they don’t have brain disease. Once that issue has been addressed, we have to help them—whether or not they have a medical problem—understand that memory is like any other bodily ability: it shows the signs of natural aging. Finally, we need to engage them, gently but firmly, in a realistic program of memory training, making it clear that if they want to improve their skills at recall, they’ll have to know it’s important to always work at it. No therapist, no neurologist, no expert of any kind has a magic potion or intervention that’ll miraculously recover for them the memory skills they had at 18 or 25, or even 35.
Telomeres, Lifestyle, Cancer, and Aging
by Masood A. Shammas
Recent studies indicate that telomere [the DNA–protein complexes at chromosome ends] length, which can be affected by various lifestyle factors, can affect the pace of aging and onset of age-associated diseases.
Rate of telomere shortening is therefore critical to an individual’s health and pace of aging. Accelerated telomere shortening is associated with early onset of many age-associated health problems, including coronary heart disease, heart failure, diabetes, increased cancer risk, and osteoporosis. Smoking, exposure to pollution, a lack of physical activity, obesity, stress, and an unhealthy diet increase oxidative burden and the rate of telomere shortening. To preserve telomeres and reduce cancer risk and pace of aging, we may consider to eat less; include antioxidants, fiber, soy protein and healthy fats (derived from avocados, fish, and nuts) in our diet; and stay lean, active, healthy, and stress-free through regular exercise and meditation. Foods such as tuna, salmon, herring, mackerel, halibut, anchovies, cat-fish, grouper, flounder, flax seeds, chia seeds, sesame seeds, kiwi, black raspberries, lingonberry, green tea, broccoli, sprouts, red grapes, tomatoes, olive fruit, and other vitamin C-rich and E-rich foods are a good source of antioxidants. These combined with a Mediterranean type of diet containing fruits, and whole grains would help protect telomeres.
CURING AGING: Telomere Basics
by Bill Andrews, Ph.D. and Jon Cornell
Since before recorded history began, people have been searching for ways to live longer. We all know the story of Ponce de Leon's search for the elusive Fountain of Youth, but even two millennia earlier, emperor Qin Shi Huang of China was sending out ships full of hundreds of men and women in search of an Elixir of Life that would make him immortal. The desire to live forever is as old as humanity itself.
But it has only been in the last thirty years that science has made any real progress in understanding the fundamental question of why we age and what can be done about it. These discoveries have not been widely publicized-yet -and so most people are unaware of how close we are to curing the disease of aging once and for all.
References to "the disease of aging" still make many people uncomfortable. After all, aging is a natural process that has existed forever -so how can it be a disease?
In fact, aging has not existed forever. Approximately 4.5 billion years ago, a cell came into existence on Earth that was the progenitor of every living organism that has since existed. This cell had the ability to divide indefinitely. It exhibited no aging process; it could produce a theoretically infinite number of copies of itself, and it would not die until some environmental factor killed it. When the ancestry of any given cell is traced back to this very first living cell, this lineage is called the cell's germ line.
Much later -perhaps three billion years later- some cells of the germ line began to form multicellular organisms: worms, beetles, lobsters, humans. The germ line, however, was still passed on from one generation to the next, and remained immortal. Even with the inclusion of multicellular organisms, the germ line itself exhibited no aging process.
But, in some multicellular organisms, such as humans, certain cells strayed from the germ line and began to exhibit signs of aging. These cells aged because they became afflicted with a disease: their ability to reproduce themselves indefinitely became broken. The cause of this disease is still speculative, but many scientists are searching for cures.
The fact that a disease has existed in the genetic code of an animal for a very long time does not mean that it is not a disease. Thousands of diseases, from hemophilia to cystic fibrosis, have lurked in our genes for far longer than recorded history. These diseases should be cured, and aging is no exception.
by Bill Andrews and Jon Cornell
Dr. Bill Andrews explains the groundbreaking science of telomere biology, the first and only emergent technology that holds the promise of treating and reversing age-related diseases, including aging itself. Topics discussed include the biological basis for the human aging process, the basic science behind telomeres and telomerase, a history of Dr. Andrews' discoveries at Sierra Sciences, the most exciting experiments demonstrating the promise of therapies based on telomere length maintenance, and the diseases that could be treated or cured by this technology. Dr. Andrews is the President and CEO of Sierra Sciences, a biotech company focused solely on reversing aging through telomere maintenance. He is one of the principal discoverers of both the RNA and protein components of human telomerase, the enzyme most critical to this technology. He has focused the last 20 years of his career exclusively on addressing the problem of human aging. All profits from the sale of this book go to anti-aging research.
Prepare Him Room: Advent Begins
by Jon Bloom
The season of Advent is beginning again. Advent — a season, so full of tradition, so full of memory, so full of legend. And a season so full, often over-full, bustling and bursting with the exhausting activity of keeping traditions, creating memories, and recalling legends.
And as Advent begins, Luke comes to us, as a kind of holy ghost of Christmas past, bidding us to lay aside for the moment our Christmas lists, leave the half-trimmed tree, pause the holiday movie, dry our hands from washing the cookie pans, and follow him. And as we do, all we see begins to swirl into an unfamiliar darkness.
Mediation: Keeping Awake to Wait
by David Henson
Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake! Mark 13:36-37
Keep awake! And be watchful for the best deals on flat screen televisions, for they will come and go like a thief in the night. Keep awake! Two will be shopping, but only one will be taken into the paradise of door-busting discounts. Keep awake! And the peace of a peppermint mocha and the grace of our Starbucks will be with you always, for the coffee shop will remain open all night to fuel the delirium of fevered consumerism. Keep awake! For you know both the day and the hour when the master of American consumerism will return. Keep awake! For Black Friday now begins on Thursday.
Meet: monthly 1 ½ hours
Where and when:
Alliance: Christ UMC, 470 E. Broadway – Second Tuesdays, 2:00 PM
Ashland: Christ UMC, 1140 Claremont Ave. – Second Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Medina: Granger UMC, 1235 Granger Rd. – Third Wednesdays, 1:00 PM
Painesville: Painesville UMC, 71 North Park Pl. – Third Thursdays, 12:30 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 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
Liz Nau – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jennifer Olin-Hitt – email@example.com
Sue Palmer - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sharon Seyfarth Garner – email@example.com
Valerie Stultz - firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol Topping - email@example.com
Places where words alone cannot take us
Interview with Jan Richardson
One of the things that I’ve been keen to explore in recent years in Advent is that sometimes when we talk about waiting, we think of it as a passive thing, having to sit idly by while we wait for whatever is going to happen to happen already.
I think part of what God invites us to in Advent is to be mindful that when we are called to times of waiting, God doesn’t mean for us to be passive. I think of Mary so much in the season of waiting, and how her waiting was not an idle time as Christ was growing in her womb.
We’re called to, and invited to, find the spaces of invitation, even in what may, on the surface, look like really slow times. We are called to pay attention. We are called to look beneath the surface. We are called to ask questions about the place we are in, even when it feels like we’re not moving in any direction.
Being an artist, I find, requires a huge amount of patience, and again, it’s not an idle or passive process.
One of the things that frames my Advent season is being willing to wade into the messy, murky, sometimes ugly, painful places -- and I’m talking here both about my art and about my grieving, which are so intertwined -- but to trust that in the waiting there is work to do, and that something will come from it that I can hardly even begin to see or imagine from the place I’m standing.
Mindfulness Meditation: Guided Practices
by Mark Bertin
So often, we lose track of the fact that we would give someone else the benefit of the doubt in a particular situation but not ourselves. Whether we’re on autopilot or even when giving a situation our full attention, we can make mistakes. Yet our desire is for happiness, and we’re trying to find our way there—we don’t intentionally make a misstep. And really, the same goes for everyone around us: extended family members, our children’s teachers and therapists, a hassled clerk or waitperson, and certainly our children. Even when we completely disagree with others or how they’re acting, their intent is still happiness.
In this compassion practice, there’s no aim to force anything to happen. You cannot will yourself into particular feelings toward yourself or anyone else. Rather, the practice is simply to remind yourself that you deserve happiness and ease—no more and no less than anyone else—and that the same goes for your child, your family, your friends, your neighbors, and everyone else in the world. Everyone is driven by an inner desire to avoid suffering and find a measure of peace.
Find a comfortable, stable position, either seated or lying down, and observe several breaths. Notice how you’re feeling while letting go of striving or effort to feel otherwise. You cannot force yourself to feel relaxed, nonjudgmental or anything else in particular. Let yourself simply feel whatever you feel.
Next, picture your child. Imagine what you most wish for him. This unbounded affection, deeper than any surface emotions, has traditionally been encompassed within four phrases: “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you feel safe. May you live your life with ease.” Use these phrases or any that capture your deepest wishes, and silently repeat them at a comfortable pace, timed to your breathing.
Continue repeating these wishes for your child, reminding yourself of your deepest intentions: “May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you feel safe. May you live your life with ease.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
©2016 EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.