Bishop Hope Morgan Ward reminds us that “John Wesley was very, very interested in health and believed that mental health, physical health, relational health, spiritual health were all deeply interconnected.” In a Connections address (September 2013), Bishop Ward reminds us that Wesley never separated spiritual care from the care of the body as he met the needs of the poor.
The 2014 Annual Conference theme of “From Strength to Strength: Thrive!” encourages us to embrace our opportunity of “living fully and abundantly and well in the spirit of Jesus Christ, the giver of health and salvation.” Read more below about health and wellness resources for clergy and congregations in the North Carolina Conference.
- Clergy Health Initiative – In July 2007, The Duke Endowment generously funded the Clergy Health Initiative, a $12 million, seven-year program intended to improve the health and well being of the 1,600 United Methodist elders and local pastors serving churches in North Carolina. In 2013, Duke Endowment committed an additional $5.74 million to extend the work of the Initiative. Spirited Life, the Initiative’s health and wellness program, provides participating clergy with two years of wellness services that teach spiritual renewal; stress management; and healthy, mindful eating and exercise — all buoyed by coaching and support. About 1,100 pastors – more than 60 percent of the eligible clergy – enrolled in Spirited Life, which launched in 2011. Read Spirited Life wellness tips and success stories at The Connection blog.
- The Amazing Pace – This pedometer-based walking program free to all NC Conference clergy members in 2011, is sponsored by the NCC Wellness Committee. Enrollment is also free to NC Conference and local church lay employees enrolled in the Conference Health Plan.
- The NC Conference Insurance Committee offers a wellness program to support conference members in making their personal wellness a priority. For more details, click here.
- Read more about NCC clergy resources, including health and wellness, coaching, counseling, conflict transformation specialists, continuing education, and more.
- CareNet of NC – Beginning in January 2010, the Conference Commission on Clergy Counseling and Consultation endorsed CareNet to provide services for clergy and local church consultation. Affiliated with Wake Forest Baptist Health, CareNet provides high-quality, faith-integrated counseling and behavioral health services to clients. Many of CareNet’s 54 certified counselors and psychotherapists are ordained, certified pastoral counselors. For more info on services provided, confidentiality, and financial assistance available to clergy, click here.
- CareNet Locations in NC – Twenty-three CareNet offices are in operation throughout the state.
- Mental Health Resources – Find mental health resources for clergy, congregations and families, including links to state and national mental health organizations.
- A Healthier NC – North Carolina is a great place to live, work and raise a family, but we consistently rank in the bottom third of all states for overall health. A Healthier NC invites you to join the “Healthier NC Challenge.”
- Wellness Programs Offered to Churches – Through a grant from The Duke Endowment, the NC Conference Office of Connectional Ministries offers a number of wellness programs led by Alyson Breisch, RN, for local churches and districts. Benefits to participants may be physical, social and spiritual as Breisch bases the content on scripture and the care of bodies and relationships.
- Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW) Mini-Grants – PHW, an initiative of The North Carolina Council of Churches that aims to connect health as a faith issue, offers mini-grants ranging from $500 – $1,000 to support the congregation’s health ministry. In order to qualify for a mini-grant, congregations must first complete one of the three PHW certification levels.
- Center for Congregational Health – The Center for Congregational Health provides ministry and/or training annually for hundreds of faith communities, lay leaders and clergy across the United States and in several foreign countries.
- Church Health Reader – A ministry of the Church Health Center Outreach in Memphis, the Church Health Reader offers health and wellness resources for individuals and churches. Ideas for health and wellness ministries, as well as curricula, flyers and downloads, are available. Poignant reflections on living with disease offer spiritual insights and recount personal journeys through chronic illness.
- Disability Resources for Congregations – Published by the NC Conference, this site offers resources for making worship facilities accessible to all people and for supporting inclusion of all people in church programs.