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Clergy Wellness: An Important Part of Wesleyan Theology
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
 
And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so-it is well with my soul.
 
The words of the familiar hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul," have been sung at countless services of worship and home-going, since it was originally penned in 1876 by Horatio G. Spafford, a Chicago businessman. The music was composed shortly after by Philip B. Bliss and Ira Sankey. The song was written as a response to the tragic loss of the four Spafford girls due to the sinking of the ship that they were traveling on to France with their mother, after their father had lost everything as a result of the Chicago Fire in 1871. Mr. Spafford wrote the words that he and his wife felt in the face of such tragedy and loss. It is a reminder that sometimes, in spite of our best efforts, we may not be successful in all that we plan and hope for regarding the lives of others and ultimately ourselves. The Spaffords went on to have three more children and to relocate to Jerusalem, where they established the American Colony, a Philanthropic society dedicated to serving Muslim, Jewish, and American needs. Although Spafford's reflection starts off with such heartrending sorrow, it ends with a reminder that God has eternal plans for God's own. 
 
The United Methodist Church began on the campus of the University of Oxford in England with a band of brothers asking themselves the tough questions of life: Am I enjoying prayer? Do I pray about the money I spend? Am I defeated in any part of my life?
 
The goal of the Holy Club was to do the challenging and often difficult work of self-examination. This rigorous self-examination also required them to work on a developmental plan to assist them to live better the next day than they had the day before. Many in that small group went on to be leaders in the areas of global discipleship and theology once they moved beyond the Holy Club. Today's United Methodist clergy men and women collectively represent some of the strongest theological minds anywhere in the world. There is a deep understanding of Wesleyan theology, social justice, and living into the four pillars of wellness: spiritual, emotional, physical, and financial. Although everyone may not agree on how we should go about caring for our souls, we can all agree that we must care for our souls. This care also lends itself to a deep understanding of the need to care for mind, body, and finances in order to properly care for our souls.
 
For more than a decade in West Ohio, there has been an emphasis on clergy wellness and resiliency, because it is understood that ministry can be challenging work filled with the joys of baptisms, new converts, and weddings. It can also be filled with the stress of declining membership numbers, family challenges, and the pain of loss. It would be so awesome if there was a way to achieve wellness and just maintain it through a six -week study. Although there isn't a quick fix, there are many paths that one can take to begin to move in the direction of wellness - you just have to start and be consistent with it. Click here for the Conference's Wellness webpage for more information. For those who are already living their best lives, employing generativity to help others lean into their wellness potential is needed. For clergy and laity alike, it is important to note that wellness is a lifelong journey, and one has to be ready to make any and all necessary adjustments along the way to navigate the path.
 
Dear friend, and I pray all goes well for you. I hope you are as strong in body, as I know you are in spirit. -3 John 1:2 (NIV)

— Rev. Donnetta Peaks, Director, Office of Ministry