Clergy Health Initiative Receives Grant To Foster Well-Being

Montage of healthy choices

New initiative designed to address the increasing challenges clergy face across contexts

In October, the Golden Cross Division Board of Methodist Health System Foundation awarded the North Texas Conference and Methodist Health System’s Faith Community Nursing program a grant of $140,000 to support new initiative designed to improve clergy health and wellness. The funds will be put toward hiring a full-time Faith Community Nurse dedicated to investing in clergy, as well as developing programs and tools to enhance clergy well-being.

“The well-being of our clergy affects the well-being of our entire connection, rippling out to impact families, congregations and the greater community,” said Rev. Caeser Rentie, vice president of pastoral services for Methodist Health System. “We know clergy are better able to live into their calling when they are working from a place of wellness and flourishing across all dimensions of their lives. As part of the Clergy Health Initiative, we will have a dedicated Faith Community Nurse working directly with clergy, helping to build healthy habits and strategies in a one-to-one setting.”

According to a July 2023 study of United Methodist clergy from Wespath Benefits and Investments (Wespath), the well-being of United Methodist clergy has declined significantly over the last 10 years. Clergy are seeing higher incidence of diabetes or pre-diabetes, hypertension or pre-hypertension and body mass index greater than 30. Similarly, measurements in social and emotional wellness are trending downward, with reports of work-related stress and financial stress increasing.

“In the Center for Missional Outreach, we see the Clergy Health Initiative as a powerful way to serve our clergy, and in turn, serve the community,” said Rev. Andy Lewis, director of missional outreach and assistant to the Bishop for the North Texas Conference. “The Faith Community Nursing program has been helping to address whole-person health in covenant relationships since 1999. Adapting this model to bring care and healing directly to clergy will allow us to come alongside them and support their important work in new and relevant ways.”

Work on the Clergy Health Initiative is expected to begin in early 2024.

Published: Tuesday, December 5, 2023