My friends, my church family, Grace and peace and love to you this day. May God continue to bless and feed us as we grow and transform together.
Credo means I believe… In the context of my experience, thanks to the Pension Boards of the United Church of Christ, it is also “an intentional Christ- centered community, work of the heart, mind, body and spirit, a living stream with a sustainable spirit, a lifelong process of Identity, Discernment, Practice, and Transformation”. All those words come together for a healthy and whole person who leads as God is calling them to be and lead.
I learned much at my Credo experience, in the beauty of Lake Logan Episcopal Conference Center in the mountains of North Carolina. It was very intense and much discernment happened, new colleagues and friends were made as well. The faculty prayed for and with us, taught us much about ways to transform ourselves. They too had experienced Credo and knew and know how important it is for health.
Our plenary time was in Spiritual, we are traveling a journey between head and heart, heart space is where the Holy resides. As we inventory our calling, can we, do we feel the presence that called in the first place, the excitement, the connection. Burnout occurs when we don’t have the balance between connection and call. Identity—Who am I? Discernment—Who is God calling me to be? Practice—How am I responding? Transformation—How am I changing?
Another plenary time, was Vocation. We are all called, are we living the call that God called me to? The United Church of Christ has many resources, that shared. One is the “Journaling the Journey”. To look again at the marks of readiness and remember and grow from them. What are the building blocks for meaningful work? Am I giving healthy time to all parts of my vocational profile—Primary position–what I get paid for, Additional work—independent work that pays, Relationships, Service, Study/reading, recreation? How am I balancing?
The third plenary was Physical health. How am I taking care of my body? Am I eating healthy? Standing for at least an hour a day so as not to get “sitting disease” which is now more prevalent than smoking as a disease. Am I walking? Am I hydrating with water? Movement? All of these effect the call and health.
The final plenary was Financial. For me, this was very important as I have worked in small churches my whole career and lived in parsonages. My question becomes, will I have enough to retire in 10 years, since I have not been making conference guidelines in salary or benefits? The finance faculty helped us to see that we need to be proactive about our own salary and benefits that we need to ask questions.
As the 6 days went along, we moved more into discernment time, spent more time in small groups and listened to what God was calling us to. Worship was a main part of the experience. The outcome was that we came home with a Credo plan for health. All the plans were different, and put together with the consultation of talking with the faculty and our small groups. Some learned that they needed to leave their place of ministry for a new call, some learned that they needed to change habits and give more time to family, some learned that they were burning out and really needed to re-evaluate what they could actually do. We then came up with an action plan and they were dedicated to God. These are long term plans for health. Each has 3 goals and 4 objectives to the goal, that are Spiritual, health, Vocational, and Financial.
I have my Credo plan that I will be working on, so that we all can grow and transform together in a healthy way, because Grace happens. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this pilot program. The health of all of us, will be beneficial.