A very Happy New Year to you! I hope you've all had a wonderful start to the year (and managed to get a holiday in there somewhere, even if it's just a day!). We've started back with the study this week, compiling more responses that came in over the holidays. I've been so humbled by people's willingness to share their stories, and often saddened by how hard a time they have had while in ministry or after they have left it.We have been brainstorming a lot of ideas for 2015, very exciting! Some have come from clergy family members, some from past studies, and others still have come from website research. But here are the top three contenders for 2015 which we are hoping to start creating some interest around (we would love your feedback):
- Clergy Family Appreciation Month: This fabulous idea started in America as a small way for churches to express their thanks every year to their clergy workers. We would like to add to this great idea by extending the thanks to the entire clergy family. Coming up with names and ideas right now but if you have a suggestion please let us know!
- Cheers Mate' Packages: A system of nominating an individual or family who deserves some well-earned recognition for the hard work they do in their church and community. Packages will be sent to clergy individuals or families with fun, helpful and relaxing items just to say thanks or give them a pick-me-up if they're having a hard time. We are looking for people who might be interested in providing small items for these gift packages. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Extended Care Network: This one is already a work in progress! We are working hard to gather as many support resources as possible in Australia from local support groups to websites and community events. They will be published on our website as a place where clergy workers (current and retired) and their families can get access to support they might need or a listening ear if they need to talk. Part of this is looking into the idea of an online forum where people can meet and chat either anonymously or exchange personal details.
These are our top 3 ideas - what do you think?! We are aware of how hard people work these days and our aim is to make these resources easy to use, easy to find, and easy to pass on. We are constantly inspired by people's stories and hope that these ideas will become realities in 2015 and give a little bit of help to a mostly-forgotten community.
Any ideas or suggestions, we would love hear from you.