As my desk is in the front lobby, I have been fortunate to welcome pastors to the onsite Clergy Program throughout Covid. The sweet spot for the program is a four-person cohort, a good number for relating to one another, but not perfect for distancing in our meeting room nowadays. We have been hosting one or two per session in a shorter, four-day week for some months, and the participants are so grateful to have in-person sessions. Like you, we have mostly adapted to our new norm, and wondering what the vaccine and the coming months will have in store for DCP moving forward.
Will pastors be “re-stressed” (as if Covid didn’t work well enough), or will they be relieved to get back to old routines? Will the old routine still be the preferred routine, or do we all have to work harder to learn a new path? Anecdotally, our therapists and consultants have noted the uptick in calls for appointments. Pastors, used to visiting, being leading voices, and likely having outgoing personalities, are now at home offices or alone in their church office, visiting virtually, and holding off gathering in the ways they used to. They may be enjoying the opportunities to reconnect with family and taking more time for reflection. On the other hand, “boredom” is a word we hear a lot too.
Once clergy begin to return to schedules, will they be overwhelmed with too much sensory input, trying to implement plans made over the past year, or fulfilling the obligations that come with ramping back up? Will they have to sacrifice family communications or family time? Whether you are a pastor, a pastor’s spouse, a community caregiver, the new norms to come will be stressful for some. It will be important for church leaders, who routinely over-extend, to keep some of the quiet “boring” moments of the past year in their pocket for future reflection. DCP hopes to be a continued resource for you as we leave 2020 behind.