There are some actions a community of churches could take to address the issue of clergy health. A major action would be to help arrange a health fair strictly for pastors in a contiguous community. You can make a positive witness to the community if executives from the various denominations in an area coordinated such an activity. A local branch of a large health insurance industry like Blue Cross might help sponsor such an event. If you do it ecumenically, you can have sufficient numbers to not have anyone drive too far. Plus you probably can get some good media coverage for a positive cooperative event among the churches.
The first step would be to approach a local hospital and talk with them about providing health personnel for such an event. If you are near an educational medical center, they probably have a division that would be glad to work with you on designing such an event.
At the event, you would be offering to check blood pressure, sugar in the blood, cholesterol count, weight, etc. Demonstration of mouth to mouth resuscitation, use of a defibrillator, etc.They may even have portable sonogram machines or other machines to check other health issues.
In addition ask health personnel to provide tables with literature and advice on signs to look for with respect to heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, etc. An additional advantage for the pastor is that s/he would be better informed about what to do if a member of the congregation showed such symptoms.
You might even get someone to include some brief seminars on
- healthy cooking,
- home exercise programs,
- stress reduction programs, etc.
Because it is focused on pastors and professional church staff, it would be good to have some elements built into the design that address the unique aspects of working in a church and the resultant pressures of such a profession.
A TRIPLE WITNESS
Consider the witness that such an event would make. First, you would be raising consciousness about the issue of health for the whole community. Health is something churches care about. If it went well and received good publicity, several churches might join together to hold an additional fair for their membership. Second, the focus on clergy would lift up the significance of the health of church leadership. Third, it is a positive witness when churches in a region demonstrate that they can work together. A fourth possibility is that if the executives had a positive experience in working together, it might encourage them to look for other opportunities as well.