Posts Tagged 'congregations'

Setting a New Table this Holiday Season

Church Health Reader is an online and print publication that provides resources for you and your church. Church Health Reader is a part of our outreach efforts at the Church Health Center in Memphis, Tenn. To learn more about Church Health Reader or to subscribe visit www.CHReader.org.

Daily Devotion for the Church Health Center – Psalm 40:7-8

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 – Epiphany 2, Year A

Psalm 40:7-8Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.”

The psalmist exclaims that in the scroll it will be written: ‘I have made myself available to do your will, O my God.’ The psalmist goes on to write that he doesn’t hide God’s love, righteousness and faithfulness in his heart…that he shares it freely with those around him “in the great assembly.”

Prayer: Almighty God, strengthen us so that we might do your will boldly. AMEN.

Daily Devotion from the Church Health Center – Matthew 3:16-17

Monday, January 03, 2011- Baptism of the Lord, Year A

We are approaching that Sunday where many liturgical churches will remember the baptism of Jesus. The scriptures for this week include: Isaiah 42:1-9, Psalm 29, Acts 10:34-43 and Matthew 3:13-17.

Matthew 3:16-17And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.

Throughout my life, I have been associated with denominations that practice infant baptism. In the infant baptism rituals of which I have been a part, a significant part of the service occurs when the adult members of the congregation agree to assist the parents in raising the child in the faith. In this affirmation of the community of faith, all members of the congregation take responsibility for the faith development of each other, especially the children.

Prayer: Gracious God, keep us mindful that all who pass by us today are your children. AMEN.

Picture for Baptism of the Lord, Year A

Picture Citation

Creating a Healthier Environment in Your Congregation


My friends at HopeandHealing.org have posted an article by Leigh Devries that offers tips to making your church building a healthy place for all.

I Want to Be a Healthy Pastor


Grace Hackney shares her article I Want to Be a Healthy Pastor which first appeared in Clergy Health Initiative.

Looking Back at Earth Day 2010

If you woke up this morning wondering how your congregation might get more involved in going green, you might check out this article on HopeandHealing.org. Charlene Hosenfeld discusses caring for creation and our health.

Rejoicing Spirits – Worship for Special Needs People


Jennifer Halupnik has written an article posted on HopeandHealing.org describing a worship service model that is geared toward special needs worshipers. The article includes some good links to Rejoicing Spirits resources.

What can a vibrant health ministry look like?


Rev. Dr. Ken Robinson of St. Andrew African Methodist Episcopal Church in Memphis, Tennessee was recently interviewed by HopeandHealing.org in an article titled Soulful Messengers about his congregation’s health ministry activities. Every congregation reading this article can find something that inspires them to try something new.

Proper 21/Ordinary 26 – James 5:15-16

From James 5:15-16 – The prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise up them up; and anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

In reading this passage today, I am struck that as people of faith we have to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to each other…able to confess our shortcomings to one another as well as to pray with one another.

Prayer:

Almighty God, give us the confidence to be vulnerable to one another. AMEN.

On Congregations and Mental Illness

I have been treated for depression for ten years.  When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know I was depressed.  I had trouble concentrating, my life turned dramatically inward and my job performance suffered fairly significantly.  Thankfully, a pastoral counselor at Church Health Center noticed my symptoms and took the chance to approach me and encourage me to get professional help.  Despite my depression being “mild,” I remember feeling shame at the diagnosis. 

A troubling article appeared this week in the Baptist Standard citing a study by Baylor University.  Quoting from the article: “In a study of 293 Christians who approached their local church for assistance in response to a personal or family member’s diagnosed mental illness, Baylor researchers found more than 32 percent of these church members were told by the pastor that they or their loved one did not really have a mental illness.”

A link to the full article: 

http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8841&Itemid=53

An article from canadianchristianity.com offers some helpful advice for congregations seeking to create more healing environments to members and visitors suffering from mental illness.

http://www.hopeandhealing.org/contentPage.aspx?resource_id=127 

This article cites another author, Marja Bergen, whose blog Roller Coaster chronicles her living with bipolar disorder.  Her blog can be found in my blogroll or at http://marjabergen.blogspot.com/.

I can say to myself and friends, “Depression and hypertension are both medical illnesses.”  Yet, when I was first diagnosed with depression I couldn’t embrace that statement.  I was fortunate to be in environments, however, where others did believe that statement making home, work and church places of healing for me.

On Congregations and the Economy

Driving home today, I saw a church sign that stated the following:

CASUAL DRESS: NOVEMBER & DECEMBER

At first I found this sign rather odd, but as I thought about it, I wondered if it was response to the economy – A church saying “Save your money on clothes.  Come worship as you are.” 

Whether that was the intent of the sign or not, I am curious as to how congregations are dealing with the struggling economy and its impact on struggling members and friends. 

How is your congregation dealing with the current economic climate?  How is it affecting stewardship or the stewardship campaigns that make up this season in many congregations?


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