Congregations Working for Workers

Be the link for fair tax refunds

by Lauren Hales

During tax season, a time when low-income families  and individuals should be receiving their well-deserved tax returns, many sub-par tax preparers set up shop to take advantage of these customers with negligent tax returns and high rates. Tax preparers have been known to charge as much as $500 to file a straightforward return—exploiting a community […]

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 […]


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 […]


In Silence and Stretching

A chaplain finds his vocation Q&A with Jonathan Lewis

With an undergraduate degree from the University of Georgia in religion and an MDiv from Duke Divinity School, Jonathan Lewis is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and a board-certified chaplain working on a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling at Memphis Theological Seminary. He works for Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare in […]


A Nurse’s Unexpected Calling

Work and faith are one. Q&A with JoVeta Wescott

by JoVeta Wescott

JoVeta Wescott is the executive director of Kansas Parish Nurse Ministry and a faith community nurse for over 20 years. Her life’s work also includes a thriving parish nursing outreach ministry in Pakistan, where she is heavily involved with relationship-building. Q: We believe that all humans benefit from the value of work. Christians often approach their […]


Created by Glory for Glory

Q&A with David H. Kim

by Susan Martins Miller

Rev. David H. Kim is the executive director of the Center for Faith and Work and pastor of faith and work at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. He holds an MDiv from Westminster Theological Seminary and ThM from Princeton Theological Seminary. Church Health Reader’s managing editor Susan Martins Miller posed questions for how […]

The Gift of Work

An invitation to kingdom building

by Deidre Riggs

Mom, can you help me out? Would you dry the dishes?” As soon as she asks me, I can feel resistance rising on the inside. I don’t like drying dishes. Drying dishes may be my least favorite chore in all the world. Next to raking leaves. I try to be a grown-up about it. I […]

Website 101 for Your Church

Building a website for your church is an effective way to engage with the greater community and reach those who are actively seeking a new faith community. A website, though, is no easy thing to build, and knowing the basics of what makes a website valuable to the visitor is essential to your site’s design. […]

Empowering the Church to Fight Joblessness

Jobs for Life connects people with the dignity of work

Unemployment is more than a simple economic issue. It damages the whole person, often causing depression, feelings of worthlessness, and a loss of identity. As such a vital component to a person’s health and well-being, the local church can be better equipped to support members of faith communities in finding and keeping useful employment. Jobs […]


An Internist’s Life Calling to Addiction Work

Q&A with Dr. Anderson Spickard, Jr.

Dr. Anderson Spickard, Jr., emeritus professor of medicine and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and recognized expert in substance abuse, brings over 45 years of experience in internal medicine. His first book, Dying for a Drink: What You and Your Family Should Know About Alcoholism, is a classic resource on the connection between addiction […]

The Downward Spiral of Payday Loans

What your church can do to help

What are payday loans? A payday loan is a small amount of money loaned at a high interest rate, with the agreement that the borrower will repay the loan with his or her next paycheck. People with poor or no credit, who are denied bank loans, take out payday loans. Typically, the loans are for […]

On Duty

Seeking deep gladness, responding to deep hunger

by Susan Palwick

It wasn’t church, but it felt like church. Late last summer, I attended a program orientation for incoming students in the Masters of Social Work program at the university where I teach. This is my twentieth—and last—year as an English professor at the university; beginning next fall, I’ll be a full-time MSW student, working towards […]

Caregiver Care

by Mary Boland

Family caregiving duties have grown in the past decade. According to a 2015 study by AARP, an estimated 43.5 million adults in the United States have provided unpaid care to an adult or a child in the prior 12 months. Twenty-two percent of caregivers feel their health had gotten worse as a result of caregiving, […]


Restoring the Healer

Spiritual Self-Care for Health Professionals

reviewed by Mary Boland

William E. Dorman, in his book Restoring the Healer: Spiritual Self-Care for Health Care Professionals, presents a unique and intimate reflection on the work of health care professionals and the stress, joy, and passion of their daily work. Through his chapters, Dorman recounts real-life tales from his own experience that resonate with his readers. Framing […]

Everyday Ergonomics

Staying happy and healthy at work

by Mary Boland

Ergonomics is a science that helps determine how individuals will perform best, be most comfortable while working, and reduce injuries that may result, especially from repetitive motions. Whether your job involves sitting or standing for the majority of the day, ergonomics can help prevent health problems such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, carpal tunnel, and pain […]

Multitasking: A Help or Hindrance?

Multitasking is sometimes a point of dispute. Is it really effective? Can anyone truly do more than one thing at a time, all with the same standard and quality? Instead of seeking answers to these transient questions, let’s first take a moment to understand what multitasking is—or is not. Multitasking is actually time-sharing. The human […]


Life in Action

Q&A with the Carter Center's Karin Ryan

by Stacy Smith

For 26 years, Karin Ryan has served with President Jimmy Carter and Mrs. Rosalynn Carter at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. As the senior project advisor for the human rights program, she works to strengthen international systems and support human rights activists. President Carter dedicated his new book, A Call to Action: Women, Religion, […]

Financial Anxiety

by Scott Morris

As luck would have it, I was at the Crescent Center in Memphis, Tennessee when the U.S. Marshals entered the offices of Stanford Financial and seized the company’s assets. It was a heart-pumping experience. Dressed in black, with an intense sense of purpose, the Marshals made it clear I didn’t want to get in their […]

A Prayer for the E.R.

by Bill Holmes

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. (Psalm 139:1-2a) You know when I am doing chest compressions or when I am holding the hand of a frightened patient. You know when I am encountering a difficult family or when I am comforting […]

Letter to a Future Doctor

by Scott Morris

Dear Future Doctor, Congratulations on entering medical school. I know it has been a long, difficult path to get to this point, but you have made it to the beginning of a life-changing experience. What I hope is that it doesn’t change you too much. Most students just starting out still identify more with being […]


To Be Enough

Q&A with Sister Simone Campbell

by Brianna Wagner

Sr. Simone Campbell is the executive director of NETWORK, a Catholic social justice lobby, and author of A Nun on the Bus: How All of Us Can Create Hope, Change, and Community. She has organized groups of fellow Roman Catholic nuns for the Nuns on the Bus tours to raise support for social programs that […]

A Chaplain’s Prayer for the ER

by Bill Holmes

O Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up. (Psalm 139:1-2a) You know when I am doing chest compressions or when I am holding the hand of a frightened patient. You know when I am encountering a difficult family or when I am comforting […]

Copper Coins

by Nia Zalamea

“My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God.” —Psalm 84:2   “And a poor widow came, and put in two copper coins, which are worth a penny.” —Mark 12:42   When we speak of service, certain words come to […]

Book Review

Soul of a Doctor

Harvard Medical Students Face Life and Death

reviewed by Shelby Ussery

The third chapter of this endearing book composed of essays by third-year Harvard medical students begins with a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as he reflects on the story of the Good Samaritan. “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will […]

Book Review

Holy Play

The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose

reviewed by Mary Boland

In his book, Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose, Kirk Byron Jones emphasizes the true power vested in humanity—a power too often diminished in religious teaching—for co-creating our lives’ purpose with God. He makes use of various Scripture passages and anecdotes, allowing an element of play that shows the joyful aspect of the […]

Seeing the Unseen

Psalm 31:9-16

by Jeanette Cooper Hicks

Tears ran freely down the face of a young Afghani girl as her father carries her bloody body into the makeshift military hospital. The familiar smell of smoldering flesh and fabric alert the staff a burn victim has arrived. With skin boiling and her head scarf melting to her slim body, the staff readies for […]

The Seventh-Inning Stretch

Relief, rest and respect for those who are weary and weighted down

by David Waters

In the big innings, God created the heavens and the earth, light and water, vegetation and livestock, humans—everything you need to play baseball. Later—in the seventh inning—God took a break. Some call that the Sabbath. In baseball, it’s called the seventh-inning stretch. The book of Genesis contains two creation stories. The seventh-inning stretch has at […]


Sabbath in the Suburbs

Q & A with MaryAnn McKibben Dana

by Sarah Ranson

The Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana is pastor of Idylwood Presbyterian Church in Falls Church, Virginia. She is the writer of numerous articles and essays as well as Sabbath in the Suburbs: A Family’s Experiment with Holy Time. Church Health Reader spoke with her about the practical process of introducing an intentional Sabbath into an already […]

Healing Sabbath

by Scott Morris

Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” Yes, this is a Bible verse (Exodus 20:8) and one of the Ten Commandments. Many of us can repeat this verse from memory in our favorite translation. We may even know that it is repeated in Deuteronomy 5:12. So we do not doubt that keeping the Sabbath […]

The Unplugged Pastor

by Darian Duckworth

Facebook, a site that thrives on connecting with one another, taught me the value of disconnecting. In late February, a message from the United Methodist Church appeared on my news feed about unplugging from technology for a 24-hour period. The Sabbath Manifesto, a project that seeks to reclaim the seventh day of creation in our […]

Job Skills for a Fresh Start

Old St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Philadelphia, PA

by Church Health Reader Editors

Old St. Joseph’s, Philadelphia’s oldest Catholic community dating back to 1733, has a long tradition of social justice and outreach. In recent years, awareness of the homeless population keeping warm on the vents around the church grew into an outreach ministry targeting men in particular. Volunteers provide meals and clothing and make referrals for other […]

SAWs – Servants at Work

Building Freedom One Ramp at a Time

by Church Health Reader Editors

For more than two years Nora O’Bannon was closed in her house, unable to navigate her wheelchair down the front steps. In order for Nora to leave, her grandson would physically carry her down the steps from her home. “Being closed in,” she says, “really—it was an awful feeling.” Enter SAWs, or Servants at Work, […]


Clergy Health: A Priority in Mississippi

Q&A with Hope Morgan Ward and Embra Jackson

by Darian Duckworth

In The United Methodist Church, people often associate the bishop with a person who speaks: preaching, presiding, or generally serving as a spokesperson in the Church. When Bishop Hope Morgan Ward arrived in Mississippi in 2004, one of her first actions was the opposite. Along with her husband, Mike, she traveled to the 11 districts […]

Book Review

Medicine as Ministry

Book Review

reviewed by Scott Morris

Margaret Mohrmann’s book, Medicine as Ministry, is written out of professional experience both as a physician and a Christian. In ways I have rarely seen, she articulates the lines between faith and health in theological language that understands what it means to care for someone who is suffering. It is a small book that is […]


Medicine as Vocation

Q&A with Daniel Sulmasy

by John Shorb

Daniel Sulmasy, MD, is author of The Healer’s Calling: A Spirituality for Physicians and Other Health Care Professionals and The Rebirth of the Clinic: An Introduction to Spirituality in Health Care. He is the Kilbride-Clinton Professor of Medicine and Ethics in the Department of Medicine and Divinity School at the University of Chicago and associate […]