Twenty years into a successful career as a pastor in the United Methodist Church, Laurie Haller was burned out. In Laurie’s words, she was “discouraged, bored, hopeless, depressed, beyond exhaustion, cynical, despairing, and numb.” She had lost all sense of balance between her career, her family, and herself.
Then, she was awarded a Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal grant which gave her the opportunity to take a sabbatical from the demands of her ministry and even her family life. What followed was a rejuvenating three-month, multiple-stop trip from Michigan to Montana, Arizona to South Carolina to the Taizé Community in France. Her “recess” also involved an equally exciting internal journey of reflection, recovery, and finally re-entry.
Her transparent story will serve as guidebook for young clergy who need to determine boundaries and establish sustainable work habits. It will encourage seasoned pastors who feel burdened by the demands placed upon them. Beyond that, Recesswill help lay people to evaluate the work and play balance of their own lives and to understand that ordained ministers also require time for spiritual growth.
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