By Megan K. Mertz
As pandemic restrictions hit the six-month mark in many places across the United States, church workers — especially pastors — report feeling weary, discouraged and anxious amid this time of great uncertainty. In many cases, their workload has significantly increased, while they may wonder if they are doing enough or doing the right thing.
“Generally, we can handle this kind of stress for short periods of time, but it doesn’t take long for the adrenaline to wear off and for fatigue to set in,” said the Rev. Michael Meyer, director of disaster training for The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Disaster Response.
As part of the Soldiers of the Cross—Amplified program, the LCMS Office of National Mission has partnered with DOXOLOGY: The Lutheran Center for Spiritual Care and Counsel to provide resilience training and respite for pastors through two upcoming retreats.
The “Take Heart! Strength and Confidence for Demanding Days” retreats are scheduled to take place Sept. 28–30 in Bel Aire, Kan., and Oct. 5–7 in Donaldson, Ind. They will be led by DOXOLOGY’s Executive Director for Spiritual Care Rev. David C. Fleming and Executive Director for Christian Counsel Dr. Beverly K. Yahnke.
“The ‘Take Heart’ retreats will provide an opportunity for respite, advanced study and spiritual refreshment for pastors,” Yahnke said. “For several days, pastors will join other brothers in office for times of worship, instruction, personal reflection, peer conversations and engagement with new strategies. The clergy retreat will provide encouragement for ministry, enhance confidence in the face of calamity, and will strengthen pastors for ministry during and beyond plague days.”
Online registration is now open to any pastor. Register by Sept. 13 for the Kansas retreat or by Sept. 20 for the Indiana retreat. The retreats (programming, lodging and meals) are free for pastors — costs will be covered entirely by the Office of National Mission.
Although these events are free, space is limited. Attendance is intentionally being limited for the safety of all attendees, and local guidelines regarding gatherings, social distancing and face coverings will be followed, according to Meyer.
Posted Sept. 1, 2020