Pastoral Self-Care In Isolating Times

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Congregational care during this coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic is essential, however, traditional congregational care is, at best, now very strained. Ministry is quite different than it was a few weeks ago. We cannot meet or gather as congregations. Caregiving for bereaving families unable to attend funeral services, members who may not be digitally connected, and those losing employment while working from home are just some examples of how ministry has shifted.

The uncertainty, anxiety, and the expressed unknown of an odourless, colourless, tasteless, and sightless contagion has caused enormous pressure on health care and stress on economic systems globally and as a result, has brought ministry pressure to the church. Because we are ministering in unprecedented times, it requires a particular ministry.

Intentional pastoral care to families, which includes seniors who may be more isolated, parents working from home, youth and children home every day out of school, requires more creativity and strategic vision. The congregational need for dedicated pastoral care is self-evident.

In many ways, ministry served out of the pastor's house for days or weeks using technology requires more intentionality, time, and planning. Coaching married couples, planning worship services, verifying congregational news, meeting with ministry leaders, and providing spiritual care can defy the clock and deplete all energy. However, deliberate self-care will yield effectiveness over the long haul of ministry for the pastor.

To care for others consistently necessitates the need to care for oneself. If a person is not well, it is pretty hard to care for others. Quite frankly, a person cannot give what they do not have.

Airlines figured this out long ago in a depleted oxygen environment, establishing the guidelines for parents to take care of themselves first when donning their oxygen masks before taking care of their children. Self-care is not selfish although, in years past, the mere mention of self-care evoked misunderstanding and the label of not giving all. Early on in pastoral ministry, I remember hearing senior leaders brag about the last time they had a vacation as if it were a badge of honour. But I wonder today how their family's felt about it.

Self-care is not selfish. It is wise. Even our Lord Jesus encouraged His disciples to get away to a quiet place to rest awhile when the ministry was so busy that they didn't even take time to eat (see Mark 6:31). Self-care is the practical means for ministry staying power, a balanced approach to a vibrant, sustainable ministry.

Self-care can bring clarity to help nurture a spiritual discipline that establishes a relationship with God. We may feel that we have had so much theology educationally that we do not need to study, pray, or take it seriously anymore. But this goes beyond theology. Intimacy with Christ can only be faked for a season. The secret to any authentic, viable ministry is to know the living Lord personally and intimately.

Self-care can also be experienced by a change of pace, resting, meditating, praying, and taking time out for physical exercise. Self-care is the replenishing of the depleted resources exhausted mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and socially in ministry. Amazingly, these were the exact attributes of our Lord Jesus as He grew into a man (see Luke 2:52). Understanding the complex role of contemporary pastors gives insight into the necessity for spiritual connection, emotional care, and physical awareness. All are essential and important to life balance in the professional journey of Adventist pastors.

Finally, because of the rise in the need for congregational care during these times, more attention should be given to self-care in pastoral ministry. In fact, "to pastor is to care." Caring is more about who we are as persons, and that caring yields through what we do. Caring through feeding, equipping, leading, and serving are all a part of the biblical role and calling of a pastor. The higher the demand from the congregation and community, the more focus should be given to the question, "How am I doing?"

During the COVID-19 pandemic, faithful, caregiving pastors are needed more than ever. If you fail at self-care, you certainly won't be effective while caring for others. I pray you will take care of yourself along the journey of pastoral ministry, to be the best caregivers, especially during this pandemic.
— Ivan L. Williams, Sr. is director for the North American Division Ministerial Association
This article is adapted from the original article featured on the NAD Ministerial Association’s website.



Hurricane Preparedness 
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is urging the public to prepare for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. Here is the basic checklist:
1. Make necessary house repairs
2. Secure a first-aid kit
3. Allocate 3 gallons of water per person
4. Keep extra cash on hand
5. Make sure your tank is filled with gas
6. Place documents in a protective bag
7. Keep a fully charged cellphone with its charger
8. Stock up on special needs items for infants, elderly, physically challenge
9. Secure a battery powered radio, flashlight and clock, along with extra batteries
10. Have enough canned food items to last for 3-5 days
11. Keep some extra batteries on hand
For extensive information, also check:


The Adventist Book & Nutrition Center continues to serve you. Please note the extended hours for your convenience. Monday - Thursday 9:00a.m – 5:00p.m. Fridays 9:00a.m – 2:00p.m. Sundays - Closed. The social distancing rule will be applied during your visit. 
-- ABNC Manager


The South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists continues the Revelation Series with Dr. Jon Paulien, Dean of the Religion Department of Loma Linda University on the following date: Sunday June 21, 2020. This week’s topic will be: “The Open Remnant:  The Best Is Yet to Come.” A link for the class will be on the South Bahamas Conference website. For further information please contact Pastor Lynden Williams via email at
-- Pastor Lynden Williams, Bible Studies & Spirit of Prophecy Coordinator

Vacation Bible School Xperience
Theme: HEREOS - ‘Making a Big  Difference in Small Ways.’ This year the exciting program will be held online. Next week we will give you more details on how your children and their friends can sign up for this awesome experience.
--Mrs. Lavern Sturrup, CHAM Director

Happy Father’s Day
The Women’s Ministries Department of the South Bahamas Conference would like to wish all our men a Happy Father’s Day. May God continue to richly bless you as you instill good spiritual and moral values; as you mentor and rear our young men. Please note that due to the COVID19 pandemic, our regular submission format has changed. This week and every week thereafter, we will stay connected thorough our “Sisters for Sisters” words of empowerment and inspiration, coming from women across our Conference. The submission this week is from Mrs. Jessica Dorsett, wife of Pastor Jon Dorsett of the Long Island District.

Difficult Times
It was the end of a workday when I received a call stating that there was a burglary at my home. I did not rush to get home but rather went to a prior appointment that I had. I had over KYD$ 1,000 (Cayman Islands Dollars) in savings stashed away as I did not have a bank account; that was my current savings on hand toward my college tuition.

I was overworked and underpaid, but I saved as much as I could with the dream of continuing my education. Learning that there was a break-in did not perturb me. I felt calm - I knew that God was in control and that He would work things out for my good. After learning that the funds were gone, I remained calm and at peace by the grace of God. I believed that He would make a way for me to continue my studies.

I had grown in faith after many negative experiences where I could see the hand of God at work and I believed that this situation would be no different. One week later, God rewarded my faith by gifting me approximately the same amount of money I lost. This time I opened a bank account.

While we go through this Covid19 let us remember that God never promised that we would not experience difficult times, but He has promised, "When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee." (Isaiah 43:2) Likewise he promised, "... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." (Hebrews 13:5)

Graduation for Ministry of Kindness Certification
The Graduation Service of the Women’s Ministries Department, Ministry of Kindness Virtual Certification Program by the Inter-American Division will be held on Sunday, June 21st at 10:00a.m. -12:00p.m. All ladies completing the program are encouraged to attend at

Upcoming Event
“Unplugged…but connected?” Stay tuned for more details on this Women’s Ministries event.
--Mrs. Jacqueline Gibson, Women’s Ministries Director

The PARL Department of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists will embark on a series of educational ZOOM meetings to inform members about a variety of subjects.  Tune in to presentations from professionals or a panel of experts on topics including, but not limited to: Religious Rights, Human Rights, Formulation of Wills, Criminal Justice, Employee Rights, Human Trafficking, Racism, Police Brutality, and a host of other interesting issues. The meetings will be held on a monthly basis. Stay tuned for information on the day and time so that you can be a part of these exciting meetings. 
-- Pastor T. Basil Sturrup, PARL Director

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      June 27, 2020 at 8:03p.m.

Happy Sabbath!