Blog Posts

Clergy Faith & Wellness: Lent for pastors who have given up everything already

Rev. Shelly Petz


They have given up hospital visits because no one was allowed in. They have given up time with family, friends, colleagues, parishioners, and community partners.  They have given up presiding over huge wedding celebrations because numbers for gatherings have been limited. They have given up funerals and grief work as they knew it.  They have given up rituals in their own lives and in their communities of faith that mark mountain top journeys and valleys of deaths. They have given up full ...

Clergy Faith & Wellness: Our roles as pastors, priests and prophets

Rev. Shelly Petz


How is it with your soul? I continue to find my soul needs more and more tending the more and more stress, change, anxiety, fear, chaos, and questions I experience.  I find in order to do this tending, I need more and more prayer, discernment, and intentional Sabbath. We are in a liminal season. Where we know what has happened but we do not yet know what is coming. This is true in terms of the pandemic, in terms of political divide, in terms of a multitude of things before us. Please give time ...

Want to Share my Tree?

Lay Servant Ministries


Do you know where God is calling you to go? Okay, let us get a bit more general. Do you know where you are going? More basic? Do you know where you are coming from? How about considering from a larger perspective? Can you answer these questions about your local church congregation? If not, read on and think about where these thoughts might lead. Like many others, I have a bit of curiosity about where I come from. What is my family origin? What is my family history? How did we get to northeast ...

Clergy Faith & Wellness: Seasons of health and wholeness

Rev. Shelly Petz


Thank you, Great Plains Clergy, for the multitude of ways you continue to live out your call to ministry. The stories of what is unfolding of how God is at work in and through you and those around you are incredible. Christ's light is shining in abundant measure because of you.   I also see some clergy who are exhausted. You have been putting in so many hours in your preparations for Advent, decisions that must be made, grief work that is before you, and ministering to and with your mission ...

Clifford is Called

Lay Servant Ministries


When God called Cliff Hall to service as a lay speaker more than 40 years ago, it may have been to prepare him for just this moment in time. As the horrible COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged our community, Cliff, at age 92, has been serving as essentially the acting chaplain inside the Kansas Masonic Home in Wichita. For years, he’s helped out as assistant to the facility’s part-time chaplain, acting as liturgist and fill-in preacher. But the ongoing safety of the residents, only essential care ...

For Granted

Lay Servant Ministries


This year, 2020, has been filled with so much stress, apprehension, and uncertainties. The pandemic has affected us all. It has permeated our health, education, and economic ways of life. I have also had recent health issues that have caused me to make lifestyle changes. We simply can no longer take things for granted. We can no longer assume that our jobs, health, social life, and practices of faith will be "as they always were." We must find new and innovative ways to meet our needs, and the ...

Embracing Change

Lay Servant Ministries


We are in a time that is different than we have known before. This does not mean before was not good, however it means we must learn new ways of having Lay Servant classes. In the Great West District, we had a class scheduled and what happened? Covid-19 hit and we were not able to hold this class in the traditional face-to-face way. I was so fortunate to have Rev. Bonnie McCord scheduled to lead this class. She called me and we discussed what we were going to do instead. She was being moved to ...

More deadly than COVID-19

Lay Servant Ministries


I was lying awake in bed early this morning and found myself praying. Praying for my family and friends, praying for “my enemies.” I don’t really think I have enemies. This is a phrase Jesus used, “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44. I think of it as praying for those who don’t like me or who are on opposite sides of issues from me and so on…and then I prayed about this virus and asked for a safe and effective vaccine.   But then it dawned on me…like a light ...

Are you prepared?

Lay Servant Ministries


A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Basic Lay Servant Ministry class. It has been a number of years since I took my Basic class, and back then it was basically a preaching class. It was energizing to see the enthusiasm of the participants in the class. Each had their own reasons for being there that day, but by the end of the day, were all united in one purpose–to find our individual gifts and discover ways to use them in our ministry settings. We all go into Lay Servant ...

Clergy Testimonies about Spiritual Direction–Rev. Andy Frazier


Rev. Andy Frazier, pastor at Bonner Springs UMC in Bonner Springs, KS., writes the first in a series of blog posts of clergy testimonies about Spiritual Direction. The Office of Clergy Excellence is sharing some resources—including grants—about Spiritual Direction and Soul Care. I started spiritual direction about 6 months after I became a pastor, which is about 8 years ago now. In the grand scheme of things, 8 years is not all that long...but, oh has it been an eventful 8 years! Three ...

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