CREDO ChorpenningPearls for the Journey: Give Yourself Permission
By Rev. Hal Chorpenning*

Clergy burnout can be a major threat not just to clergy and their families, but to the churches they serve as well. Health statistics show that clergy are increasingly suffering from obesity, heart disease, hypertension, and depression. It is essential to provide tools for resiliency so that clergy will be well enough to serve others. The Pension Boards-United Church of Christ CREDO (PBUCC CREDO) Seminar offered real solutions.

Prior to participating in PBUCC CREDO, I was on the verge of burnout and being overwhelmed in ministry. Since the Seminar, my spiritual well-being has really improved. I had time to sit in silence and contemplate God's creation. To be on retreat without leading the retreat gave me permission and encouragement to take sabbath time each week and to develop a new daily practice of prayer. As clergy, we tend to be more kind to others than ourselves. I learned that giving myself permission to rest or take a moment is an essential part of self-care, while honoring God with the body entrusted to me to serve others well.

One thing that was enormously helpful during the PBUCC CREDO Seminar was working in a small group with three other clergy. We had the opportunity to be open and vulnerable, sharing our personal and professional challenges with one another. Though we are scattered across the U.S., the four of us continue to have a monthly videoconference check-in and an annual gathering for a time of retreat and renewal.

This is probably the best opportunity you will have to enhance your resilience – spiritual, physical, psychological, and financial – during your ministry. Do this!


PBUCC CREDO is a holistic wellness benefit that offers clergy space and resources to examine significant areas of their lives and discern prayerfully the future direction of their vocation as they respond to God’s call in a lifelong process of practice and transformation.

The CREDO experience is anchored in a week-long Seminar and includes a pre-Seminar assessment and post-Seminar resources so that participants can deepen their commitment to lifelong wellness. Learn more about this program here

*The Rev. Hal Chorpenning is the Senior Minister of Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ in Fort Collins, CO.