Clergy Supporting Clergy --- Academy of Parish Clergy

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I am at the annual conference of the Academy of Parish Clergy. I have been a member for some 13 years or there about. I am editor of the journal -- Sharing the Practice -- and last year joined what we call the College of Fellows -- that makes me a FAPC (Fellow of the Academy of Parish Clergy). This is a multi-faith organization of professional religious leaders who are dedicated to growing in the practice of ministry. To be honest almost all of our members are Protestant, with one exception -- a Buddhist nun (also a Fellow). I share this as a way of reporting the importance of peer support.

Clergy are human. We get tired and weary. We can become fearful and angry. We often feel that our calling and identity are not well understood. On one level, we want to be seen as ordinary people. At the same time we engage in a vocation that often separates us out from others (whether that is our intention or not). I greatly appreciate this group because it offers an opportunity to share our burdens, to bare our souls. I appreciate it as well because it is ecumenical and multi-faith. Sometimes denominational gatherings, as valuable as they might be, can't provide the same sense of freedom and support as this group offers.

So here I am in Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Michigan, in a winter-like April week, enjoying the blessings of fellowship and learning. If you're clergy of any faith tradition or professional religious leader, and you're looking for the kind of experience I have been having why not join us.

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