A Theology of Play

The spirit of play is very important in my ministry as a pastoral caregiver at a psychiatric hospital. That spirit comes out in various ways. Sometimes I joke with my patients. Sometimes I’m irreverent. Sometimes I tease. In addition to demonstrating playfulness, my theology also involves a type of openness and creativity as I listen […]

The Heroine’s Journey, Part Ten: Heroine Integrates the Masculine and Feminine

This devotional is the final installment in a series exploring the kinship between the Heroine’s Journey as established by Maureen Murdock, my lived experience of ministry as a female clergy person, and a few familiar fictional characters. Each devotional ends with a blessing for the Heroine at that stage of the journey. In the previous […]

Pastoral Care with Persons with Narcissistic and Antisocial Personality Disorder: An Interview with The Rev. MaryJane Inman

Although I work in a specialized setting of a state psychiatric hospital, when speaking to church pastors I sometimes recognize behaviors and problems they describe as having similarities to those I witness in the psych hospital. Some of those are similar to people with Borderline Personality Disorder, some bring to mind folks who have experienced […]

Ministering to Persons who Have Depression or Anxiety

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), depression and anxiety are the most common mental illnesses diagnosed in the United States. With almost a third of adults experiencing symptoms related to one or both of these illnesses, chances are you will have folks with these struggles in your congregation. In my setting, a […]

Pastoral Care with People with Thought Disorders

For most church pastors, it can be intimidating to consider giving pastoral care to someone with a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia, or someone who is paranoid. People who face a diagnosis of a psychotic disorder make up approximately 1% of the adult population in the United States. The vast majority of people with such […]

Love and Limits: Pastoral Care for Persons with Borderline Personality

In seminary, one of my mentors said, “Beware the first person to introduce themselves to you in a new congregation—they’re probably borderline.” I’ve heard similar refrains in clergy circles ever since: “They will take all your time and energy if you let them.” “Every church has got one.”  “Beware the borderlines!” Stereotypes and horror stories […]

The Heroine’s Journey, Part Nine: Heroine Heals the Wounded Masculine Within

This devotional is the ninth installment in what will be a series of ten exploring the kinship between the Heroine’s Journey as established by Maureen Murdock, my lived experience of ministry as a female clergy person, and a few familiar fictional characters. Each devotional ends with a blessing for the Heroine at that stage. In […]

Mental Health Boundaries from a Recovering One-Year Pastor

I knew I had made a mistake as I sat in a COVID-distanced circle with my district superintendent and the five people I trusted most in my church to discuss my future as their pastor. Well, really, I knew that I had made a mistake when someone I had counted as a supporter and friend […]

Trauma Informed Approaches to Pastoral Care (Interview With The Rev. Kerri Erbig)

As an Episcopal priest who has spent her entire career working full-time in psychiatric or medical hospital settings, I often find it difficult to translate my experiences and knowledge of mental health and illness in ways that are useful for parish clergy. I operate in a very boundaried setting with set hours. My patients don’t […]

How is Self-Care Different from Soul Care?

If you feel like your feed is infiltrated with reminders about the importance of self-care, you are not alone. The $1.5 trillion self-care industry is expansive and pervasive in its influence. It isn’t an accident that you are receiving reminder after reminder of the ways that you can ensure that you are taking care of […]