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April 25, 2015, 9:54 PM

Things to Do to Start the New Year Off Right

(I’m continuing a multi-month series on “Things to Do to Start the New Year Off Right”)

2015 is here. Need to add to your New Year’s Resolution? Here’s a fourth idea to consider that can help us in our personal growth.

4. Go on a retreat – For many years, I have taken a retreat just after Thanksgiving to pray for the parish and to prepare for the busy Advent and Christmas seasons. Anytime is good to step back and reflect, readjust, refocus, and move forward in a new direction. Other pastors go on similar retreats, sometimes with their church staff and/or Vestry. 

Taking a retreat doesn’t need to be long or expensive or far away. Even just one day, somewhere in the local area, can be beneficial. There are dozens of retreat centers in Western Pennsylvania where, for a nominal fee, you can get away from the normal routines of life. Take time to pray, dream, create, plan, play and evaluate the direction of your life.

When I go away, I take my Bible and Prayer Book, a parish directory, a good book just for fun, my walking shoes, and a journal. I ask God to help me see how to be more faithful in my life – spiritually, physically, emotionally, socially, financially and in my ministry.

In some ways, after you take time to go on a retreat – the “next day” is the beginning of your “new year”!!

Pastor John

[Editor’s Note – Blanche’s column will return next month.]

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