Being at Peace with Oneself




I’m a huge Mark Sundby fan.  I respect his wisdom and guidance, I appreciate his humility and humor. I am grateful for the work he does in the world to help pastors and congregations learn and grow in their understanding of ourselves and our callings.  The Rev. Dr. Mark Sundby is the Executive Director of LeaderWise, our presbytery’s go-to for many things.  (Learn more here.)

Our presbytery has a number of offers in February and beyond that speak to the obvious need our pastors, church staff and other congregational leaders have for help in this exceedingly challenging time.  Mark Sundby writes this in a recent email about resiliency in difficult days:

  • “Begin with self-care. All of that emphasis on achievement—which seemed so important five years ago—matters very little anymore. In the midst of multiple crises, it’s okay, in fact imperative, to take care of ourselves. Thich Nhat Hanh, a Buddhist monk and peace activist in Vietnam during the war, wrote The Miracle of Mindfulness, a primer on mindfulness meditation, for student activists in his movement to teach them how to take care of themselves. In it, he recommends participating in daily mindfulness practices and setting aside a full day of mindfulness—no work!—each week. One can only bring peace to the world if one is at peace with oneself.”  Sounds like Jesus’ advice in Mark 6:31.

We want to respond in the same spirit and offer some help.  Here is some of what we have in mind:

Lunch and Listen and Learn:  Thursday, January 28  11 am (c)/ noon (e)                                                The Rev. Libby Davis Manning, director of the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program and program consultant to the Religion Division of the Lilly Endowment will be our guest to discuss sustainable practices for thriving church leaders.  (It’s going to be great. Don’t miss it.)

Thursday, February 11 (same time as above)

Panelists: Rev. Jim Kirk, Dana Rev. Lindsley, Rev. Kathy Riley

This one-hour program presented by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance will focus on resilience and self-care in the continuing season of COVID-19. A panel of presenters will offer tools for self-care and resilience and respond to questions and comments from participants concerning changing needs of ministry in this time.

We will include the framework of recovery from a disaster and the trauma that can accompany it. We will address how to understand our own signs of stress and will offer in-the-moment tools to become more relaxed in body and mind as we respond to stress, trauma and bereavement, and the overlay of natural and human-caused disasters onto the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19.

We’ll talk about follow-up support for leaders as well.

Group Spiritual Direction is being offered for church leaders. See God Calls for more information about this.

Pastors’ Respite at Geneva Center

Maybe it is time to consider that pastors may be in need of a little “alone time” or time away to ‘recharge”?   Ten months of coping with this pandemic has been hard on everyone and pastors as well have been ultra-challenged while leading their congregations.

Geneva Center with its 235 wooded acres featuring miles of serene, forested walking trails, its large walking labyrinth which invokes contemplation and helps individuals center their thoughts, its quiet pond that promotes reflection, all this …and more…is available to hard-working pastors for a few days & nights…a private place to ‘unwind’ first, then ‘recharge’ before returning to their challenging role and responsibilities as a Pastor.

Already a number of  pastors have chosen Geneva Center for a personal retreat…a place of quiet solitude and a place close to Nature amidst God’s creation.  These pastors indicated it really was time away that was appreciated and much needed.  So, we want to remind all pastors and congregations this option is still available in case they might be in need of a Pastor’s Respite.

Geneva Center has been untouched by the COVID and has put all cleaning and other protocols in place to do all it can to assure full compliance and thus safety for our guests.  (If a pastor, pastor & spouse or pastor & family are the only ones in a specific area, social distancing is assured.) 😊

To explore dates and options, give Cathy Adley, Operations Director a call at 574-223-6915 or email her at  She will be glad to assist you with arrangements for a Pastor’s Respite.

View our facilities and grounds at:


(Unsplash photo by Aaron Burden.)