Nov/10/2014 | by Dan Musgrave
The Clergy Revitalization Breakfast, hosted by the Missouri Institute of Mental Health (MIMH) and Committed Caring Faith Communities (CCFC) at UMSL’s Innovative Technology Enterprises (ITE) in conjunction with National Clergy Appreciation Month, had three goals: 1) to show appreciation to those clergy who work tirelessly for the benefit of others, 2) to remind them of the importance of taking care of themselves as they care for others, and 3) to provide them with an opportunity to network and gain resources to continue to do their good work.
Approximately 65 members of the clergy representing at least seven different denominations, spouses and service providers attended the breakfast. Health screenings were offered during the event in partnership with the UMSL College of Nursing.
“I think it was a very good turnout,” Rev. Isaac C. McCullough, Chairman of CCFC, said. “It was great to get together, network, recuperate, and give them some needed resources.”
He went on to explain how this event is particularly important considering the situation in Ferguson. “What’s going on here in St. Louis is going to have an impact on the U.S. and the entire world. It starts with communication and everyone has to be at the table together.”
According to Brendolyn Bailey-Burch, Research Associate at MIMH and one of the event’s coordinators, the ultimate goal was “to remind the clergy that self-care is an important part of their ministries and urge them to take care of themselves as they take care of others.” The message of the breakfast – to rest, relax, and refuel – is just as important for clergy as the needs of entire communities can fall upon the shoulders of a select few. Compassion fatigue, sometimes simply called ‘burnout’, is real and it can be serious.
“Clergy, in particular, are so accustomed to serving others that sometimes they don’t pay attention to the signs of stress and burnout,” noted Daphne Walker-Thoth, Vice Chair of the CCFC board of directors and MIMH Advisory Board Member.“Sometimes the community and congregations forget that clergy and their families are human beings who get tired just like everybody else.”
Attendees were able to mingle and get educational resources from a variety of community partners and service organizations from informational DVDs on stress and kits on compassion fatigue to pamphlets on voter registration, information on mental health first aid and other services.