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This Pastor’s Not the Only One

August 15, 2021

Written and shared publicly by an online colleague and friend in in the Northwest one week ago today —

Life Update

This morning in worship, I announced that I will be going on personal voluntary leave.

The last seventeen months of ministry have been absolutely unprecedented, and I have reached a point beyond burnout. I have been needing a break for months, but I have not been able to take the space and time needed. A few weeks ago, my burnout reached its limit as I found myself suicidal.

After informally asking about leave with my District Superintendent back in June, I made an appointment with a psychiatrist who was able to give me a formal diagnosis of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I am moving forward in medical support for this diagnosis, as well as continuing formal emotional support structures. The emotional symptoms of this have been manageable up to this point, but the physical symptoms have kept me from being my full self for years. I have been hospitalized multiple times in the last 17 months, leaving me with minimal recommendations from medical professionals beyond “eliminate your stress.” The physical impact of my stress is slowly destroying my body, and I need time away to heal and find tools for personal sustainability.

The pandemic has been a time of deep personal reflection about what gives me life and what drains me physically and emotionally. One thing I’ve learned is that the art of baking feeds my soul, so I am following that calling. I will be working at a local cafe in town, and for a month this fall, I will be pursuing formal pastry education in the south of France.

I’m excited and hopeful about this new adventure and will deeply miss the church. I’m thankful for my mentors, therapist, and my loved ones through this rough patch and am very hopeful about my healing journey.

—- This pastor’s not the only one. Please update your Prayer List accordingly, and I look forward to seeing you back here tomorrow.

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4 Comments
  1. Naomi Roberts permalink

    Oh, Joe. I’m so sorry my brother. I hope you get some relaxation and vacation time. May the bread of life sustain you in your baking adventure. Blessings, my friend. Naomi

    Like

  2. Thank you very much, Naomi, but I am not the pastor going on leave. Sorry if my introduction above was not clear! Greatly appreciate you.

    Like

    • Naomi Roberts permalink

      I’m so glad but I will pray for the other pastor. I thought it was odd for you because you are always so joyful, but we only have to look at people like Robin Williams and know what one presents to people is not Always what is going on inside. Take care.

      Liked by 1 person

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