We came from all over: Virginia, Texas and Alabama. Some of us brought wives and husbands. We were a cross-section of the church: Baptists, Unity, and Episcopal.. What drew us to Samford University last week was a commonality. We brought with us great pain. Some of us brought fear and anxiety. Some of us came with shame and embarrassment. All of us came with hope.
We had all been beaten up, abused, hurt and wounded by some church somewhere. Some of it was our own doing—but that did not lessen the pain. We started on a Monday afternoon and parted, reluctantly, on Friday after lunch. And in between that beginning and parting a great deal happened. We shared stories, we listened to one another. We reached out, across whatever divided us from others and helped and prayed and cried. We opened our hearts up to the power of the Scriptures. We took long walks and talked and talked. We sat under tall trees and whispered prayers. We had help from a licensed therapist, a seasoned Pastor who had come through his difficulties to the far side. We talked about health and nutrition and networking and learned much about anger and forgiveness and moving on. We even talked about legal matters.
By the week’s end we left exhausted and hopeful. Somebody cared. Somebody reached out. Somebody understood. Someone gave us valuable suggestions. We promised to email and phone and keep up. We knew, thanks to this organization, Ministry to Ministers there was a place to call and we would be heard.
Since its inception MTM has conducted 85 Wellness retreats in more than 8 states for almost 800 people. Ministers from 34 denominations have come through our program. These Wellness Retreats are open to those that need to come. There is no charge for the week because those ministers and staff people under fire have few resources. Colleges and other institutions have generously provided rooms and food for the whole week. Jessica Powers wrote somewhere that: “I came upon earth’s most amazing knowledge—Someone is hidden in this dark with me.” MTM makes that promise come true in the lives of a multitude of wounded men and women.
As a leader in a score of these retreats I always come away feeling like this is a life-saving effort for ministers and for their families and for churches, too.
(Interested in this program or want to refer someone? Try website: MTMFoundation.org) The photograph shown above is a picture of a sculptured piece entitled, "Compassion" which was made by a fifteen year old girl.