New York City—Beginning this fall the General Theological Seminary (GTS) will launch its new Episcopal Wellness Program (EWP), a holistic initiative aimed at instilling balanced self-care practices in those preparing for leadership in ministry. The program, developed by the GTS Office of the Chaplain with support from the Church Pension Group, will work closely with existing student-led initiatives and with the Seminary’s Center for Christian Spirituality. GTS-EWP encompasses body, mind, and spirit and teaches, through modeling, a healthy and balanced lifestyle for ministry. The program makes use of healthcare professionals, workshop leaders, and peer-led groups for physical and spiritual practice, and is open to all community members: seminarians, spouses, partners, faculty and staff.
Yoga, pilates, running, walking, and “fit club” groups for physical fitness, are among the peer-led groups planned for the upcoming academic year. Also included is a meditation group in which various silent practices are taught and welcomed. In addition, twice-monthly workshops will be held on Friday afternoons to address a broad range of wellness topics and experiences, including exercise, healthy cooking, balancing relationships, and deep relaxation techniques, among others. These workshops will be led by trained, national-level professionals and will typically include both content-based and experiential components.
Running concurrently with academic semesters, GTS-EWP offerings can be taken, with additional requirements, as a one-credit course in conjunction with the GTS Center for Christian Spirituality or as a non-credit program. To be in good standing in the program, one must attend at least one peer-led group per week and a minimum of three Friday seminars per semester.
“At GTS we are committed to wellness and to the overall formation of those called to active ministry,” said the Rev. Dr. James H. Reho, the Seminary’s Chaplain. “We believe that presenting self-care and wellness solely as cognitive content fails clergy and church leaders in the field. By encouraging community members to begin living a balanced life in seminary, and in giving them the skills, tools, and experiences to continue to do so after seminary, we hope to form generations of church leaders that are happy, healthy, and holy, and who truly provide good examples of ongoing and powerful Christian formation to those they serve.”
The General Theological Seminary, located in the heart of New York City, educates and forms leaders for the church in a changing world. Founded in 1817 as the first theological seminary of the Episcopal Church, General offers certificate and degree programs including the Master of Divinity, Master of Arts, and Doctor of Theology. The Seminary is also home to the Desmond Tutu Center, a full-service conference center with sixty modern guest rooms.