Second annual gathering of peer groups

Gregory WaldropGathering the evening before their program, participants shared a meal and their life experiences with health and ecumenism. Then we pushed the tables back to the edges and the Rev. Dr. Gregory Waldrop taught us some "folk games" from various lands. Let's just say that the apple crisp dessert was well earned with the exercise that ensued!

First Gathering of Peer Groups

“Sweet!” That’s what many people say when hearing good news. It’s a good summary of the first gathering of clergy peer groups in the “Health and Hospitality Opportunities for Peer Ecumenism” (HHOPE) program.

Many members of the first three groups to beregistered in this initiative came together on October 26th in Georgetown.

Encouraging words from a seasoned leader:

We began by conversing with the Rev. Dr. Charisse Gillett, the new president of Lexington Theological Seminary. In her new work Charisse is well positioned to continue her long-standing emphasis on wellness and mutual support for clergy through small groups. She encouraged the new groups to consider journaling, get away together, and prayerfully stay in touch.

Practicing what we preach about health:

We literally side-stepped the sedentary nature of too many meetings. Mr. Gerry Zúñiga, a teacher at Lexington Catholic High School, introduced us to Tai Chi. The slow-motion pattern of movements lived up to its favorable health impact report from the Mayo Clinic. Beginners among us were inspired by Gerry’s gracefulness and graciousness. 

We also ate healthy food, thanks to the enthusiastic caterers from Made From Scratch who make a point to buy locally.

Participants received a health goals form that is an aid to spelling out each individual’s own intentions about health improvement. The hope is that the peer groups program will help create a context of accountability and assistance.

Sharing lessons about hospitality:

HHOPE – Health and Hospitality Opportunities for Peer Ecumenism

Health and Hospitality – what do they mean to you personally and in your ministry? How might you be refreshed by exploring that question in a small group of your peers?

The Kentucky Council of Churches invites you to find out. We have received funding from the Lilly Endowment to foster such groups around Kentucky. We would welcome hearing from interested church leaders, especially clergy. Just call 859-269-7715 or email to or fill out and send in the Declaration of Interest.

This is a three-year program. The small groups will form themselves ecumenically (members from various Christian traditions) and set a schedule for gathering for times together. They will develop some goals for themselves in relation to the themes of health and hospitality.

Each year in October, the groups will all be assembled in one place for a special program, dovetailing with the opportunity to attend the Council’s own annual assembly.

The team guiding this new program wants to hear from you. Pictured here, they include (from left to right):

The Rev. Marian Taylor, Council Executive Director
The Rev. Greg Alexander, Christian Church in Kentucky (Disciples of Christ)
Sr. Mary Luke Jones, OSB, of Our Lady of Grace Monastery
The Rev. Greg Waldrop, United Methodist Church
Ms. Jeanie Hartman, Council Administrative Assistant
The Rev. Tobias Pace, African Methodist Episcopal Church