Alone in My Body

by Liuan Huska

The thought that the pain might be chronic flashed into my mind while walking around Herrick Lake with a couple friends visiting town. I had limped about a quarter mile down the trail and someone had stopped to admire some Queen Anne’s lace. A queasy feeling snaked through my insides as I tried to focus […]

The Mission of God in Times of Pain

Course corrections to the unseen path

by Aubrey Sampson

It was 2015. My husband, Kevin, and I had just opened the doors to our brand new church plant in the Chicago area and celebrated my first book’s launch. We rejoiced in all of God’s work in our personal lives and in our neighborhood. That same week, I woke up inexplicably unable to walk. Assuming […]

Editor’s Note

by Rachel Davis

I’ve lived my whole life with chronic pain. Well, not me personally, but up close with people I care deeply about for whom chronic pain is a part of daily life. Because of these relationships, I’ve always been tuned in to the nuances of managing life with pain that doesn’t go away. I’ve also experienced […]

Genuine Ways You Can Help

by Aubrey Sampson

If you’ve ever been in a hard season, you know that advice is a tricky thing. It’s well meant, of course. But in their attempt to be helpful, a lot of people can say stuff that’s, well, not. So if you’re walking with someone who’s going through some serious pain, here’s are some genuine ways […]

The Restoring Community

The church’s healing role in a hurting body

by Xochitl E. Dixon

With stabbing pain in my upper back, I pressed my face into my pillow and sobbed. A cool breeze from the open living room window brushed over my knotted trapezius muscles and stiff neck. Housebound. Alone. Hurting. The chatter of birds in our yard joined the rhythm of throbs against my temple as a headache […]

Where God Meets Us: Faithful, Responsive Everyday Life

An excerpt from Our Work, God's World: Daily Devotions at Advent

This devotional guide looks at the faithful, responsive lives of Zechariah, Elizabeth, Joseph, Mary, and John the Baptizer. Each day’s devotional includes a Scripture passage, a reflection, questions to ponder, and a prayer for individual use or sharing with a friend or small group. After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months […]

A Journey of Faith Through Advent

An excerpt from Walking to the Manger: An Advent Devotional

Walking to the Manger: An Advent Devotional is a collection of devotionals inviting you to make walking, reflecting and prayer a part of your daily Advent practice. Every week begins with an opportunity to set a “movement goal,” or a reasonable physical challenge for yourself. For a child has been born for us, a son […]

One of Them Was Mine

An unforgettable lesson from the voting booth

by Scott Morris

When I was 18, I voted in my first election. I was excited about participating in the democratic process. It was 1972, and the Vietnam War was winding down. I had missed Woodstock and most of the anti-war movement, but I was old enough to register for the draft. I wanted the war to end. […]

The Pastor’s Health

by Scott Morris

Let’s start with a short quiz. Be honest. Don’t overthink your reactions. Everyone else on the missions committee can make a Thursday meeting at 6:30. The pastor says he can’t. The group reschedules, even though it means delaying the meeting by two weeks. On Thursday evening, you’re walking your dog in the park and see […]

Healthy Living for Stronger Faith

Connect to God with Your Whole Self

As God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. … And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. — Colossians 3:12, 14 Our faith doesn’t just connect us to God with our spirits but as whole beings. How do […]


Leading, Living, and the Way to Health

Q&A with Jim Wallis

by Rachel Davis

Jim Wallis is president and founder of Sojourners in Washington, DC, a nonprofit faith-based organization, network, and movement whose mission statement calls for “putting faith into action for social justice.” He is editor in chief of Sojourners magazine and website, Wallis is a bestselling author, public theologian, national preacher, social activist, and international commentator […]

Editor’s Note

by Rachel Davis

Ten years ago, in November 2008, we first launched Church Health Reader online. As I think about those first few months, one goal of our new publication was to provide clergy with the tools they needed to be healthier in body and spirit. Vocational ministry is not an average job. The typical stresses and complexities […]

Migraine Misconceptions

Straight facts on a misunderstood condition

Misconception #1: A migraine is a bad headache. Migraine is a complex neurological disease with incapacitating symptoms. It usually includes severe throbbing pain, but symptoms may also include visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to light, sound and smell, and heavy fatigue. It’s the third most prevalent illness in the world—about 12 percent of […]

Fall 2018 Health Ministry Connections

How to Use This Issue in Your Congregation

Clergy health and effective leadership of a congregation go hand in hand. Clergy pour themselves into caring for and leading a congregation, and a congregation that supports the health of its clergy enters into a partnership of ministry that benefits clergy, congregation, and community. This issue of Church Health Reader highlights some practical aspects of […]

The Model for Healthy Living for Clergy

Self-assessment, Reflection, and Goals

Beloved I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. —3 John 2 The Model for Healthy Living for Clergy reflects that true wellness is not just about your body but also about the interconnectedness of body and spirit […]

The Way of the Pilgrim

Learning prayer in the mindful life

by Scott Morris

When I was a student at Yale Divinity School, professor and author Henri Nouwen was always talking about the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” The idea is that you repeat it over and over to clear your mind of other thoughts. On a couple of occasions with […]

Sanctuary, Silence, and Service

A congregation’s venture into mindful worship

by Lauren Hales

At Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Marshall, Texas, gentle lighting, calming instrumental music, and flickering candles interspersed throughout the sanctuary contribute to the immediate sense of calm and welcome worshippers have come to expect at the Sunday night contemplative service. This congregation of Cumberland Presbyterians are innovating what a Sunday’s worship schedule looks like by offering […]

Wise Words, Abundant Hearts

Offering peace through blessing

by Tracy Hilts

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Thankfully, the fallacy of this adage has become clear. We know words do devastate, and we know words do bless. In healthy relationships, we choose our words wisely to avoid tearing down one another. We are also wise to cultivate healthy relationships […]


Coaching Others to Better Health

Constant discovery of spirituality and health Q&A with Laura Todd

How does your daily experience of work offer the opportunity to appreciate your own skills, talents and gifts? My job is never the same day to day, but as a health coach I can always count on the opportunity to be blessed by people’s histories and the faith stories they share with me. My job […]

Bible Study on the Move

Walking, talking, praying, and community

by Lauren Hales

In Crosstown Concourse, a mixed-use redevelopment located in Memphis, Tennessee, a dedicated group of people meets weekly to feed both their spirits and their bodies. Pastor Byron Fitchpatric, head pastor of the new Crosstown Church, lives in the Concourse with his family and volunteers with Church Health to lead this group in a time of […]

Summer 2018 Health Ministry Connections

How to Use This Issue in Your Congregation

Mindfulness, Christian tradition, and health care—three threads intertwine for fuller, balanced lives open to the presence of God in both ordinary moments and larger experiences. In many congregations, this combination may be unfamiliar, and this issue of Church Health Reader helps bring the experiences together for improved health. How can you use this issue in […]