Clergy from around the Mid-South region come together for the Regional Clergy Spiritual Health and Wellness Conference
On April 11, 2014, the Foundation funded the first annual Regional Clergy Spiritual Health and Wellness Conference. This inaugural event brought together nearly 200 area clergy members to focus on the importance of identifying and reducing the stress and burnout often associated with the demanding responsibilities of leading a church. Other topics included healthy eating, hospital visitation and managing church, family and self.
The event was organized by Regional One Health Chaplain Rev. Wanda Gardner- Slater. “There are many conferences available to clergy that focus on what clergy can do for someone else, but we also wanted to help them focus on what they need to do for themselves. For example, many pastors find themselves putting families back together while their own families are falling apart.”
The impact of the conference continues to spread into the community as attending clergy share the valuable information they received with their congregations.
Conference attendee Rev. Dr. Justin R. Holloway, Pastor, First Baptist Church Chelsea Uptown commented, “The conference not only helped me realize the importance of my personal health, it also helped me see the need for a health and wellness ministry in my church. We are also helping to address some of the illnesses in the community by bringing awareness to those who can’t see a doctor on a regular basis. Because of this event, my church has become a part of the church health network and a new initiative for nurses to visit and provide medical advice to the sick and shut-in members of our church.”
Presenter and attendee Rev. Dr. Clennon Saulsberry, volunteered his time to speak at the conference because he is concerned about the health of pastors. He enjoys sharing his successful turnaround to encourage others. “More than a decade ago, I made a life-changing decision to start eating healthy and getting exercise and I no longer deal with chronic illnesses and can enjoy my life more. I know first-hand the dramatic impact taking better care of oneself can have, so I try to encourage others. I was excited about what I learned at the conference and shared the practical tools with my congregation the following Saturday. The information was very well received, with members committing to eat better and get active.”
Rev. George Turks, Jr., Pastor of Salters Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dyersburg said, “The conference helped me to see that I don’t need to always be the superman in my family, church and community. It’s beneficial for me to take time off from the church to refresh, renew and relax. Since the conference, I have been able to help my family, as well as church members, to understand that we share in the health of each other. Church members are taking notice and lending a hand when others seem tired or need a break.”
To continue this self-care education, Regional One Health began hosting sessions every other month that include a time for area pastors to share their personal success stories. Planning for the 2015 conference is already underway.
The generosity of our supporters helps make events like this possible. Together we are creating a healthier Mid-South.
If you would like more information on how your church or religious group can support Regional One Health, please contact us at 901-545-6006.