March 2023
Our Mission: Supporting lifelong faith formation in the home and congregation
Prayer Pause
Dear Jesus:

There are so many things good and bad going on around me. Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but You give me peace. No matter what happens in the future, it is well with my soul. It is well with my soul because You are with me.

A Message from Our President, Diane McGeoch


The season of Epiphany is ending as I write this. Transfiguration Sunday is coming, and Ash Wednesday and the season of Lent will begin. I am amazed when I look at the calendar. Where is the time going?

I can account for some of the time, by reviewing my calendar and remembering what I did last week or last month. There are external reminders. What about the internal changes that occur when a church season changes? What is happening spiritually? How might I be growing and changing along with the new church season?

The theme for this year for the Network is It is Well with My Soul. We are exploring aspects of physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health as they affect faith formation leaders and those we are in ministry with. The text for Transfiguration Sunday is Matthew 17: 1-9. Our spiritual practice for this month is Listening. This text and theme come together in these verses: “While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased: listen to him!” Matthew 17: 5 (NRSV)

It is Well with My Soul
Recovery and Listening Resources

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has a great resource that defines recovery.

This clip from the 2015 movie “Inside Out” features three characters and their reactions to one another. One character offers distracted listening to the character that is dealing with a loss. Another character offers attentive listening to the situation. One response is based on “We can fix this,”, the other response is more “I am sorry.” This is a good comparison of ineffective and effective listening and could be used as an introduction to a listening session or workshop.

Brene Brown is featured in this clip articulating the difference between empathy and sympathy. The four qualities of empathy are defined and accompanied by animation that depicts these qualities. The goal of empathy, Brown explains, is to create sacred space and to encourage connection. Empathy is feeling with people, sympathy is trying to make things better. Brown provides clear definitions and uses examples that are helpful for ministry. 

The Alban Institute has a series of curated articles on "The Art of Listening:"

"Learning to Listen in a Time of Heartache," written by hospital chaplain Ylisse Bess,uses the Billie Holiday song Good Morning Heartache as an entry into listening to ourselves.  

"Identifying Community Needs by Listening" is by Joy F. Skjegstad and is an excerpt from her book, 7 Creative Models for Community Ministry published by Judson Press. 

The third article is a commentary on Acts 12, the story of the slave girl Rhoda who recognized Peter’s voice at the door but was not believed by the leaders of the early church. It asks the question: Who are the Rhodas in our midst today and how do we respond?
Interview with Judith Sparlin
Chairperson of the Health and Wellness Ministry
Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, Glenshaw PA

Interviewer: Pastor Ellen Lundie,
Christian Education Network of the ELCA

What is the Health and Wellness Ministry Team?

The Health & Wellness Team (H&W Team) began at Bethlehem in February 2010. At that time, there was a workshop held at our congregation where a representative of our synod spoke on the work of health and wellness ministries at the synod level. We were inspired to make a new Health and Wellness committee for our community. Currently, the core team is made of individuals who have backgrounds in health professions or an interest in health and wellness living like an associate professor who taught pathophysiology to graduate nursing students, a math teacher interested in healthy living, exercise and nutritional eating, a medical assistant and director of a university health center, and a registered nurse with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Other healthcare professionals in the congregation have stepped up to handle such services as blood pressure readings.

What is the Health and Wellness Ministry Team’s mission?

The Health & Wellness Ministry’s mission is to seek to be an extension of Christ’s ministry of healing by providing resources, education and support for the body, mind, and spirit of our congregation and our community. In addition to many other ministries that this committee endeavors to serve, we have provided brochures on drug and alcohol awareness and recovery through the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependency. The committee uses the congregation’s newsletter to feature monthly articles on well-being, disease and disorders, and mental health. Most articles have a link to a source and more information. Our mental health articles have included:
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Vision Statement
Building a community which equips, encourages and empowers those engaged in lifelong faith formation in a changing world, the CENetwork will:

  • Identify and evaluate resources and educational opportunities
  • Facilitate communication and conversations
  • Offer guidance, networking and mutual support
  • Nurture spiritual growth online and face-to-face

How You Can Support the Christian Education Network

You can become a member or make a one-time donation via PayPal on our website; or, you can purchase from AmazonSmile and designate The Christian Education Network as your charity. We receive a percentage of the proceeds!

Contact Us

CENetwork of the ELCA
PO Box 250009
Holly Hill, FL 32125