Tue, Jul 30, 2013
On August 8-13, 2013, Eurasia Career Missionaries, other Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS) professionals working internationally, and colleagues from Lutheran Hour Ministries will be privileged to meet together for a retreat sponsored by Grace Place Lutheran Wellness Ministries. Missionaries from all over Eurasia will be able to come together to discuss future goals for ministry in Eurasia, meet new oncoming fellow workers in Eurasia, and learn about health and wellness for the particular stresses of ministry. The retreat will be put on by Grace Place and is funded by donations from Grace Place and the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML).
Grace Place Lutheran Wellness Ministries was founded by Dr. John Eckrich and his wife, Kathy. Dr. Eckrich, a physician from St. Louis, noticed that many Lutheran Church Workers were coming to him with stress related illnesses, so he decided to do something to help LCMS church workers. The first retreat was held in the fall of 1999 and they have since helped more than 6,000 church workers and their spouses (see their About Us page for more information).
Church worker burnout is a well documented problem as church workers tend to put themselves last on their list of care. Grace Place Retreats combat stress and related illnesses, as well as emotional and spiritual exhaustion, by teaching participants how to care for themselves physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Workshops and free time at the retreat prepare the participants to return home with new tools and patterns for maintaining their own health so as to better serve their people and their families. Online resources are also offered to help participants continue learning and growing after the retreat is over. On their Mission, Vision, & History page, Grace Place providers describe a typical retreat in this way:
Each retreat is led by a professional team of guides who specialize in personal and professional growth through physical, relational and spiritual disciplines. The retreat day is anchored in four Bible-based prayer times using the new Lutheran Service Book as a resource. After early Morning Prayer, a half-hour of guided stretching wakes up the body, mind and heart. Interactive and experiential health educational sessions fill the mornings…concluded in Noon Day prayer. The afternoons are devoted to recreation time, with outdoor adventures encouraged and supported. Evening fellowship and meal follow Early Evening prayer. Faith exploration and/or worship settings lead to Close of Day prayer and retirement (Grace Place Wellness Ministries, “Mission, Vision & History”).
The Grace Place retreat is not a vacation. It is professional development and care which equips church workers and their families to better serve the people around them, whether on the International stage or in your own congregation in the US. In 2008, the Lutheran Witness ran a story detailing the retreats and their benefits, as well, noting that they are often misunderstood as vacation time. The Eurasia team is grateful for and excited about this opportunity to recharge and reinvigorate their mission to reach the lost in Eurasia with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The retreat will be held on the Island of Malta, and this blog will update you frequently during that week with short stories about what the participants are learning or doing.
- Pray for travel for all to and from Malta.
- Pray for a fruitful time for all participants.
- Pray for the travel of the Grace Place leaders and their presentations.
- Follow our progress on this blog during the week of August 8-13.
- Learn more about Grace Place and consider sending your pastor, deaconess, DCE, teachers, and their families.