The following message was emailed to clergy on April 5 by the Associate Conference Minister Team - Alex Shea Will, Isaac Lawson, Liz Garrigan-Byerly, Michael Ciba, Patty Kogut and Terry Yasuko Ogawa.
As we reach the final stretches of Lent and approach Holy Week, please know that we are thinking of you and praying for you, whether you are serving in a congregation; are working as a chaplain; or are recently or long-retired.
Your wellness matters to us. We have heard from many of you that you are pushing through, in one way or another, and have been for too long.
Below are some resources to help shore up both your own wellness and that of your congregation. We will send this email again in early May when you may have more bandwidth to consider these resources and “what comes next.”
Oh, feed me this day, Holy Spirit, with
the fragrance of the fields and the
freshness of the oceans which you have
made, and help me to hear and to hold
in all dearness those exacting and wonderful
words of our Lord Jesus Christ, saying:
May it be so.
With Resurrection Blessings,
Alex, Isaac, Liz, Michael, Patty, and Terry Yasuko
Your SNEUCC ACM Team
Fun in the Sun: Respite and Renewal at Silver Lake Clergy Camp
Clergy Wellness Survey
In the coming days, all currently-serving authorized ministers should look for an email containing a survey examining Clergy Self-Care During a Time of Anxiety and Uncertainty: Implications for the Church and Its Future Leadership. This study is being conducted by Rev. Dr. Frederick (Jerry) Streets, LCSW, and is supported by a grant from the Louisville Institute. The results will help us understand how you are doing across a variety of health factors and inform future ministries of care for clergy.
Edwards House Clergy Days Away for SNEUCC Authorized Ministers
Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Programs
Eligible congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 each to support a renewal program for their pastor. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program. Applications are open now through April 27, 2022. Click here for information and applications. Some of your colleagues have received this grant in the past, including Rev. Rich Knight. If you have a question about the application process, feel free to contact him.
Exploring the Benefits of Behavioral Covenants Workshop May 11th, 3:00 pm-5:30 pm
This Center for Transformational Leadership program will introduce the concept and practice of behavioral covenants in the congregational setting and offer some basic resources for church leadership to develop their own covenants. Facilitators are Rev. Elizabeth Dilley, Minister and Team Leader, and Rev. Tara Barber, Minister for Ministerial Support and Accountability, both of the Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization (MESA) ministry team in the national UCC setting. Register here.
SNEUCC Resources on Clergy Self-Care in a time of Pandemic
Debbie Ringen, SNEUCC Minister of Health and Wellness, has compiled a number of resources on healthy living during the pandemic, pastoral care, self-care for pastors, and mental/spiritual health on the Conference’s Covid-19 page. Please see here for more information.
Clergy Emergency Grant Programs
Emergency grants are available for authorized ministers who have current standing in an Association of the SNEUCC and the families and spouses of deceased clergy who had standing at the time of death. These grants may cover medical costs not covered by insurance, major car expenses, expenses related to a natural disaster, major dental work, or any other pressing and unexpected need.
These funds do not cover ongoing support, funds for training or other professional needs, indirect subsidies to local churches who are not compensating their clergy adequately, or compensation for interim ministers between assignments.
Apply by sending an email to your Area Conference Minister or to the Executive Minister for Strategic Operations (EMSO.) Please include the reasons for the application and the specific amount of money requested. Applicant names and all correspondence are shared only with those Conference staff who administer the program and are held in covenantal confidence.
We are deeply grateful to the Trustees of the Fund for Ministers (CT) and the Board for Ministerial Aid (MA), both separate nonprofit corporations, as well as Proportional Giving contributions to the Southern New England Conference for funding this program.
- Authorized Ministers with standing in Connecticut and Rhode Island may receive up to three counseling sessions per year at no charge through a program administered by Rev. Dr. Bonnie Scott. Dr. Scott will arrange for the three free counseling sessions with herself or another counselor. At the conclusion of the three free sessions, if additional counseling or therapy is necessary, the counselor will work with the Authorized Minister to help identify available resources. To schedule counseling, please Contact Dr. Scott by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 781-589-6400.
- Authorized Ministers with standing in Massachusetts can schedule counseling through the New England Pastoral Institute or the Pastoral Counseling Centers of Massachusetts. Funding is provided by the Board for Ministerial Assistance. More information is available at Board of Ministerial Aid - Southern New England Conference of the UCC (sneucc.org)
- Individuals enrolled in the UCC Pension Boards Health Care Plan have access to the Member Assistance Program + Work/Life Program, or MAP+Work/Life, offered through West Health Advocate Solutions, a leading clinical health advocacy company. This is a no-cost benefit that provides confidential access to a Licensed Professional Counselor or Work/Life Specialist. Through in-person visits, and unlimited, confidential phone consultations, these specialists can walk members through any of life’s temporary setbacks. More information, including how to schedule an appointment, is available here.
*Mary Oliver, “Six Recognitions of the Lord,” Thirst, 2006.