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Decision fatigue, exhaustion among those in ministry

Decision fatigue, exhaustion among those in ministry

Church leaders in six New England states set October 27th as a day to pray for the mental health of clergy. They noted, especially, the stress of dealing with adaptation to the pandemic in their communities.

The press release (PDF) “Soaked in Suffering,” Call for Communal Lament, Mental Health Support for Clergy is located here on the Massachusetts Council of Churches website.

The Rt. Rev. Douglas Fisher, bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, spoke to MassLive, emphasizing that clergy are not immune to the stress and anxiety many of us are experiencing:

“Everyone feels stress and anxiety during this pandemic and it increases the longer we are in it,” Fisher said.

“Clergy don’t have more stress than others but they have the mantle of leadership and leaders tend to carry the pain of their people. And they have to adjust to new ways of worship, new ways of gathering as community, new ways of providing pastoral care to the sick and the grieving.”

He added, “I’m hoping this letter from these many church leaders will increase awareness of the stress on clergy and invite our best selves forward.”

“Kindness and compassion are sorely needed in society right now,” Fisher said.

“May it begin with us.”

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Linda McMillan

Oh, good grief. More clergy specialness. We are all feeling the stress. The difference is that most of us just deal with it.

Jon White

From what I’ve seen, many aren’t just “dealing” with it – at least not well. I’ve already done one funeral for someone who took their own life this year and in conversation with colleagues, they are seeing lots of evidence that folks aren’t coping well, as well as noticing it in themselves. Bishop’s Fisher’s words; “Kindness and compassion are sorely needed in society right now,” seems like wisdom and a call to action to me.

Mavis Baldwin

Ministry is very tiring….a minister must treat their situation as swimming under water…can’t stay there……must come up and get a breath and then one can go back down and do it some more. It is a case where the minister simply says ….stop, world, I’m getting off and sit under a tree and see what God has to say to me…then refreshed, get back on and serve. These thoughts are not new of course, but one just has to make the decision stop for awhile and know that it is ok. Any criticism from others just does not matter. Rest clergy, rest.

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