Ministry, Mindfulness, and Well-Being
Ministry is both deeply fulfilling and incredibly exhausting. When we accepted the call to minister to God’s people, we opened ourselves up to the most vulnerable, beautiful and heart-wrenching moments of life. Offering ourselves in the service of others invites nothing less than everything from us, but is there a way to do ministry that doesn’t deplete us? This summer course is designed for people who wish to explore how to cultivate a spirit of resilience, balance and well-being while caring for others. The course will include equal parts intellectual inquiry and inner spiritual exploration as we navigate past self-help platitudes and shallow injunctions to self-care. Over five days we’ll explore the following questions: How can I be authentic and generous in my ministry without becoming resentful and exhausted? How can I cultivate a peaceful presence in the midst of stress? What can mindfulness practice teach us about Christian spirituality? How can Centering Prayer and the Christian contemplative tradition support the demands of ministry? Through candid conversation, art, music, poetry, self-inquiry and contemplative practices, we’ll create a safe learning community in which to attend to these sacred questions. This week of study, reflection and renewal is intended to be a respite in the midst of the unpredictable, rewarding and sometimes grinding life of ministry. Bring a sense of humor, a willingness to share your experience and a desire to grow in faith, hope and love.
Brandon Nappi, D.Min., YDS ’01, is a retreat leader, mindfulness teacher and writer who passionately believes in the capacity of the human spirit to awaken. Inspired by the common wisdom of the world’s spiritual traditions, he has dedicated his life’s work to sharing the transformative power of contemplative practice and interreligious dialogue. Brandon is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where he majored in Theology and Medieval Studies; he also holds an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis. His work has included youth ministry, adult education, music ministry and prison ministry. Brandon is the founder and executive director of the Copper Beech Institute for Contemplative Practice and the associate retreat director at Holy Family Passionist Retreat Center in West Hartford. He blogs for the Huffington Post and can be found studying guitar, baking bread, gardening and laughing with his wife Susan and their two daughters.