I have just returned from an 8 day conference called CREDO. Sponsored by the Church Pension Group of the Episcopal Church, CREDO is an opportunity for priests to spend time reflecting on how we are living our lives. The team of professionals who lead this conference include folks with expertise in health, finances, vocation, and spirituality. We attended plenary discussion on each of these topics and had time to reflect on how we are caring for our selves.
How is our health? What activities do we do that support our health? We epxerienced a healthy eating exercise and talked about managing stress. We had great food prepared for us by the conference center staff. We had a beautiful walking trails through woods and hills in Virginia.
What about our finances? Are we being good stewards of our resources? Do we have a plan for retirement?
What about our vocation? Are we discerning a new call? How do we negotiate a new agreement? What are the components we ought to consider: sabbatical; time off; vacation; work hours; expectations should be clear on both sides.
We worshiped every day, and the team of professionals led the worship so we could just worship! The spiritual directors led us through some powerful reflections.
We formed small groups and shared on a more intimate level. Within these groups we made new friends.
And we each wrote our "CREDO Plan" - between one and three goals for living a healthier life and caring for ourselves.
We came from all over the country. We held vast and varied perspectives on our faith and church. But we cared for one another. We left with great hope for our Church.
Now. I need to slowly re-enter the world of busy-ness. Next to me sits a pile of papers for a search process: copies of newletters and annual reports for the last few years, so I can familiarize myself with the parish I will visit next week. I need to write two sermons this week - one for this Sunday and one for next Sunday. I will be out of town three days next week and entertaining a searc committee the rest of that week - so little time to write a sermon then.
But mostly I have a fairly slow week. So, I ought to be able to re-enter with ease and grace.