Minister’s Health Summit: New name, added keynote for June 7 event

The first big change for the Divinity School’s annual summer retreat is the name itself.

No longer the Pastor’s Health Summit, the third-annual Minister’s Health Summit — a one-day retreat that promotes wellness, self-care and education for ministers across the state and region — will be held on June 7 in Butler Chapel and Taylor Hall. The event, which began in 2016 as a way to bring professionals in ministry together for discussions on healthy lifestyle habits has grown in its short history, according to the Divinity School Director of Church Relations & Development Peter Donlon.

That growth was a big reason for the name change.

“After the first two years, we got a lot of feedback from people who saw the word ‘pastor’ and felt that title kept others in the profession from signing up,” Donlon says. “And we came to learn that many didn’t attend because it wasn’t an inclusive. Swapping the name to ‘minister,’ we hope it attracts not just pastors, but associate pastors, music ministers, youth ministers and really, just anybody who is interested in attending.”

As with the first two years, this year’s Summit will include sessions on a wide variety of topics — the unique challenges women face in ministry, discovering your “divine design,” nutrition, embracing “pleasure” that is joyful and life-giving, trauma in the church and more.

Another big change this year will be the addition of a keynote speaker to kick off the day’s events. Bruce Rogers-Vaughan, associate professor of the practice of pastoral theology and counseling at Vanderbilt University, will present “Dismemberment of the Image of God,” an address about the struggles against the cosmic powers of depression, addiction, racism, sexism, nationalism and more; and how religious congregations and movements are among the few remaining human collectives have the potential to battle this present darkness.

Registration is open and those interested can view the full slate of speakers and topics at the Divinity School’s website.