By Julie Anderman
“Phenomenal. Playful. Instructive.” Those were comments from Cabinet members who recently previewed the Sabbath Game, a key part of a new, uniquely creative retreat experience for clergy spouses.
We invite clergy spouses to come enjoy the half-day retreat on Saturday, Oct. 1, at 8:30 AM till noon or 1:30 to 5:00 PM. We’ll gather at the Mariawald Renewal Center in Reading, Pa. Find out more at www.ArtosRetreats.org.
The newly created “Sabbath: Break … or Brick?” retreat celebrates Jesus’ call, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28). Designed by clergy spouses for clergy spouses, this retreat is the first of many blessed collaborations between graphic designer Lisa Mears, musician Lynnette Carter, and myself, an instructional designer and facilitator.
We are Artos Retreats, a nonprofit organization with a mission to improve the wellbeing of clergy spouses. We design our retreats to allow clergy spouses to express common issues without revealing church-specific situations.
Learning occurs through original visual and musical activities, case scenarios, problem-solving and the Sabbath Game. Groups are small (24 maximum), to encourage a safe environment for interaction.
Eighteen years ago, I felt called to marry my wonderful husband, the Rev. Tim Anderman, but I have never felt called to be a clergy spouse. Therein lies the rub for so many of us who journey in this role. Too often we flounder; our wellbeing suffers. The Lord has been calling me for years to help fellow clergy spouses flourish, not flounder. I finally paid attention last summer.
I laid aside my professional work of designing and developing experiential, highly interactive learning programs for Fortune 100 companies. Now I focus full-time on a vocation to improve clergy spouse wellbeing. And not just for the sake of clergy spouses.
A growing body of research supports what has seemed obvious for years. Clergy spouse wellbeing plays a critical role in pastoral wellbeing across multiple dimensions. Healthy pastors cultivate healthier churches. Ultimately, healthy churches grow God’s Kingdom.
We believe that clergy spouse wellbeing begins with Sabbath, where clergy spouses often struggle to claim real rest in God. Sundays can feel like another kind of workday. The “Sabbath: Break … or Brick?” retreat introduces ways to celebrate Sabbath the way God calls us to.
“Try it,” suggested a recent clergy spouse participant who enjoyed a pilot preview of this new retreat experience. “It’s probably not what you think!”
EPA Conference clergy spouses can attend a morning half-day session on Oct. 1, at Mariawald Renewal Center, Reading, Pa. Register online. Early registration discounts and partial scholarships are available. This event is sponsored in part by the Office of Bishop Peggy Johnson for the benefit of clergy families.”
Julie Anderman is an EPA Conference clergy spouse and can be contacted at ArtosRetreats@gmail.com.
Photos courtesy of Artos Retreats
Visit the event page on our calendar for further details and to register: ‘Sabbath: Break … or Brick?’