A Center in the Cyclone: Twenty-First Century Clergy Self-Care

by Bruce Epperly. Rowman & Littlefield, 2014.

Clergy experience a full life; close to God and close to those they serve. It is also true that many clergy are overwhelmed. The thesis of this book is that spiritual leaders need to be gifted at ministerial skills and they also need to strengthen their commitments to spiritual growth and self-care. The author, Bruce Epperly, is a practical theologian, pastor, spiritual guide, and author. He is pastor of South Congregational Church in Centerville, Massachusetts. This book is written with pastoral wisdom. Even more than that, the book communicates life wisdom. Advice is offered from the point of view of possibility rather than commandments. Observations are set in context with stories that don’t just tell; they show the way to a healthier life. Clergy might consider using this volume in a clergy group. Short sections of it might be helpful to share with a personnel committee and/or pastor relations committee. For example, chapter 11 contains wise comments about healthy relationships within and beyond the congregation. It is a good primer on boundaries. The book will be helpful to clergy, those new to the pastoral life, and those with long experience.