Friday, October 01, 2021

The Village ILWIDIot

Just recently, I was talking with someone about how hard the pandemic has been on people—not just the physical effects, but the mental and emotional toll it was taking. They happened to work in the airline industry, which has had to deal with unruly passengers, staffing shortages, and other issues, but I suspect it’s been felt in some way by almost everyone.

I know in talking to pastors that many have felt the challenges of these past two years profoundly. One Barna survey described many pastors as feeling “tired, overwhelmed, and lonely”—and that was back in May 2020.

“The sense of exhaustion and frustration is very real in this time,” Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren said in an interview at the time. “This is not the way we are intended to do ministry … But we need to now in order to love our neighbor well.”

Many other articles have expressed similar sentiments. Pastors have had to find new ways to provide worship and other services, care for members who have experienced effects of COVID-19 in various ways, and deal with the personal impacts social distancing and other disruptions have had on their own lives.

Some positives have come from this time in the wilderness, too—new ways of connecting, reaching people who seldom if ever took part in church life before, and in some cases making us more aware of issues of inclusivity and accessibility, instance. But those gains have come at a cost in time, energy, and the loss of other forms of community. And that has left many pastors feeling boneweary.

So during this “Pastor Appreciation Month,” as October is dubbed, take some extra time this year to say thank you to your pastor and others in ministry and let the know all their additional work is appreciated, and make sure they are being cared for, too. Even the shepherd needs some green pastures and cool waters now and then.

Walt Wiltschek