I’m sure you have read or heard this many times now – 2020 has been a most difficult year – more so than any other year in my life, and I’m sure in many of yours too. It has been so strange worshipping through a computer, but I’m grateful for the staff at my church and all they have done to help the members stay connected. It is no small task! I’m grateful that they work as a team allowing the lay leaders of the deacon ministry, music ministry, children’s ministry, youth ministry, and others to help in their tremendous efforts. I feel so fortunate to be a part of this church.
But there are many churches that are not faring so well; their ministers are struggling – the stress is too much, the congregations still have high expectations of their pastors and staff; and some things never change – like the power structures in the church who bully their pastors and eventually push them out no matter what is going on.
Although the staff of Ministering to Ministers continues to work remotely, we are still answering the calls and emails as first responders for ministers and their families who need help, letting them know they are not alone and there is hope. We continue to offer the opportunity for ministers to speak to an attorney (pro bono) if necessary and to have a friend from our Friends for the Journey Network to walk with them on their journey of healing and hope for the future.
The first retreat this year will take place at Eagle Eyrie Conference Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, the week of October 12-15 This retreat is held in partnership with the Center for Lifelong Learning at Columbia Theological Seminary located in Decatur, Georgia. Columbia’s campus is closed, but Eagle Eyrie was available that week and has the space to accommodate social distancing with our group being the only group on campus. Of course, all participants and leaders will be following COVID-19 protocols.
The pandemic accelerated a couple of new things for us. First, we introduced the Friends for the Journey podcast ministry in April, and, beginning in June, we partnered with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Virginia to present three webinars on financial planning for ministers. In addition, we offered several webinars for ministers in late August, which were well attended.
We have added a few new books to the Resources – Books We Recommend page.
We are also featuring in this newsletter some of our podcasts produced this summer. Kathrin Gabriel-Jones is our podcast host. I hope you will sign-up to receive notifications when a new podcast is released.
I hope you will tell ministers you know who may be hurting about Ministering to Ministers. The pandemic has made for very stressful times for ministers in all faith groups and across the world. Many small and rural churches have been unable to keep their doors open. Other churches have done very well using technology. But the ministers are still the ones carrying much of the load in many churches. Keep them in your prayers. If you are a minister and need support, please give us a call at (804) 774-5026. We are here for you.
Our 25th Anniversary Campaign for Foundation Ministry Fund is still in process. We are accepting gifts and pledges through December 15, 2020. We appreciate your support and prayers.