Faith Community Nurse to Focus on Clergy Well-Being

Anna Lee will assess, identify needs, design interventions and monitor progress in new role

Through a partnership with Methodist Health System and a grant from the Golden Cross Foundation, the North Texas Conference is pleased to announce the hiring of a faith community nurse who will focus on clergy well-being. Anna Lee, BSN, RN, stepped into the role on May 13 and brings a decade of nursing experience and a passion for God’s people. 

“Anna has a heart for clergy and excellent training as a nurse,” said Rev. Andy Lewis, Director of the Center for Missional Outreach and Assistant to the Bishop. “She is also a strategic thinker and understands how to ‘move the needle’ on clergy well-being by doing assessments, identifying needs, designing interventions, monitoring progress and evaluating results. I think our clergy will enjoy working with her.”

Lee is a graduate of the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. She has worked at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Surgery Center of Plano and the St. Paul Catholic Classical School. Lee lives in Richardson with her husband and two daughters.

Anna LeeClergy well-being has been a key concern in recent years, as the stresses of COVID-19, disaffiliation, stretched budgets and more have impacted pastors and the communities they serve. 

Lewis emphasized: “Being a pastor is hard, and we all recognize that the past few years have been especially difficult for faith leaders. The conference and the faith community nursing program at Methodist Health System saw an opportunity to team up and invest in the holistic well-being of our pastors. We care about our clergy, and we believe healthy pastors tend to lead healthy congregations.”

Lee looks forward to listening to the needs of clergy and supporting their ministry through a holistic approach to wellness.

“The vocation to heal others and help people heal themselves is what brought me to nursing,” she said. “Our Christian faith is the defining factor of our lives, so to be able to integrate mental health and the faith community focus with my nursing skills is what I’m really excited to do.

“Pastors wear many different hats. Often, in times of crisis, who do people call? They call their pastor. Clergy are often meeting people on the worst day of their lives. So in my mind – and what the research shows – clergy members are at risk for burnout and compassion fatigue.”

With a holistic approach to wellness, Lee looks forward to caring for the whole person – mind, body and spirit. She sees the example given to us by Christ as a model to follow in encouraging clergy to care for themselves,

“Because being a clergy member is so incarnational, our Lord made it that way, you have to take care of yourself to help take care of others,” she said. “When you look at Jesus, he left nothing behind on the cross but we can see in scripture where he took time away to pray, to care for himself. Even though he is God and Man and we are only human, we look to him as a model.

“We also have to recognize that we are finite human beings and we need help. It’s actually a sign of strength to admit that you need help, whether it be from your fellow pastors or your bishop, from your doctor or a therapeutic doctor. You can't give what you don’t have. It’s very hard to reach out, but when God has said ‘when two or more are gathered in my name I am there in the midst of them’ so I would really encourage pastors if they are struggling to reach out to a trusted friend who knows and loves them and remember that we’re blessed to have a Savior that knows us and loves us and wants us to be healed and you can be an imperfect person and still be a good pastor.”

Lewis has high hopes for this new position. “We hope that one, two and three years from now we will see a measurable improvement in clergy health and that this ministry will be seen as a valuable resource and blessing to the clergy, their families and their congregations.”

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2024