June 2017: Minister, Take Care of Thyself

In this Issue

Opening Remarks

In this edition of Transforming Challenges, Senior Consultant Tom Reid offers some tips for self-care for ministers as well as a reflection on the impact of gun violence on families.

At The Reid Group, we have a passion for helping leaders and organizations transform their challenges into opportunities to create a better world. One of the ways we do that is through this e-letter, Transforming Challenges. Is there someone you know who could benefit from receiving it? Forward this edition to them and encourage them to subscribe for themselves. They’ll thank you—and so do we!

The Reid Group News

  • Maureen Gallagher recently finished facilitating the Community Days for the Sisters of Mercy of the Holy Cross June 5-9.  The days focused on dealing with change, enhancing relationships and reflecting on the essentials of mission integration and sponsorship.  Reflections on the “Pillars of Joy” from the Book of Joy by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu stimulated meaningful discussions as the Sisters continue “in the footsteps of the compassionate and crucified Jesus.”
  • John Reid and Maureen Reid have been hired to co-facilitate a team-building retreat for Our Lady of Grace School in Castro Valley, CA on August 16.
  • The Reid Group has formed a strategic partnership with Tryon Clear View Group, a cost reduction company that specializes in Purchase Services Audits where they identify, verify and recover billing errors, vendor overcharges which are refundable to organizations.  They then secure these reimbursements from the vendors.  In addition to telecommunication, copiers, waste management and utilities charges, they also audit postal services and credit card processing. The only fee paid by the client is a percentage of the actual savings.  The first two contracts secured by this strategic partnership are a college and a Catholic parish; we have received the first report of savings for one of these contracts which showed savings of $60,000 over the next five years in telecommunications alone.   If you are interested in this service, contact us at info@TheReidGroup.biz.
  • Tom Reid and John Reid will facilitate the Implementation Commission retreat for the strategic planning process in the Diocese of Trenton, Faith in Our Future, June 20-21.  The Commission will review 25 cohort plans covering 107 parishes as they work with neighboring parishes to carry out Bishop O’Connell’s decisions which were announced in January.  The actual implementation of these decisions is scheduled to start July 1.
  • John Reid facilitated a Board retreat for Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, CA which involved conversations among Board members, executive team members and well as representatives of the newly-forming Providence-St. Joseph Health System.  The retreat resulted in the creation of a Board action plan for the coming year.

So as you look at your individual or organizational future, what are your challenges? Could you benefit from skilled support? Give us a call at 206-432-3565 or send us an e-mail to start transforming those challenges into opportunities.

For our nonprofit and small business clients

My Story of the Impact of Gun Violence
Tom Reid, Senior Consultant

One night my wife and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary—and late the next night, a phone call woke us up. I answered to hear my oldest son calling to say that his brother had been shot and that I should come right away.

The flashing of red lights of the emergency response vehicles was all I could see as I turned into the park and approached the scene. I stuck my head out the window and said I am the father. I could hear muffled talking and then one person responded with: “His vital signs are fine and we are taking him to the trauma center.”

Little did I know that this event would continue to impact me and my family to this day, almost 22 years later.

Our son was 16 at the time of the shooting. My wife’s and my first response was to move into parental responsibility mode, to focus on nursing our son back to health. Physically this meant two surgeries within the first week and a follow-up surgery a few months later to close the wound. Within a year he and his brother summited Mt. Rainier. The physical healing was the “easy” part.

Recovery from the emotional and relational impact was much harder, for our son and for the rest of the family. The body may recover, but the person can remain developmentally and emotionally frozen. It is said that we are often not aware of the emotional responses to traumatic events until sometime later, if at all.

When I reflect on how I have felt about all of this, I find a jumble of emotions: sad for him, a sense that this wasn’t what my wife and I had ever imagined, the anger, being at our wits end about how to help him and our other son cope, coming to the realization that he is differently abled.

Recently, I realized that I have shed more tears at the death of my dogs—animals that I never wanted—and that I have expressed more grief for them than my son’s travails. What is that about? Why is that the case for me? The fact that I can’t answer these questions makes it clear that the impact of this violent act is ongoing.

A couple of months ago, I hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a place where millions of years of flowing water has eaten away hard rock and stone. The amazing thing about the canyon is an overwhelming sense of all the rock that is no longer there, that has been softened by the tears of the heavens, and washed into the ocean. This erosion left a wound in the earth that swallowed me as I descended—even as it held me. I sensed a universal grief for the suffering in the whole world, and I realized that I had a well of tears big enough to fill the whole canyon.

Tears—an expression of empathy for the suffering of my family and all those who experience violence—are a beginning but they are not enough. A personal practice of prayer and meditation, keeping a journal, deep connection with some dear friends, and the love and support of family have all helped sustain my wife and me as we continue the journey of supporting our son’s full recovery.

And so I wonder: How is it for you? What is your experience? What have been the impacts of violence on you, your family or your friends?

The Reid Group webinar series

Have you or your family been impacted by gun violence, bullying or any other form of violence?  What have been the effects on you, your family or your friends?  What would help you to move forward?  Do you have the support you need?  

If any of these questions speak to you, mark your calendar for The Reid Group/Living Whole Life Webinar on working with the impacts of gun violence on people and families.  

  • Thursday, June 22, 2017
  • 5 pm ET / 4pm CT / 3 pm MT / 2pm PT
  • Session Focus: Overcoming the Impacts of Gun Violence

At The Reid Group we help leaders and organizations transform challenges into opportunities to create a better world.  We are proud to be celebrating 20 years of service to our clients as consultants, mediators and coaches.  


At Living Whole Life, we inspire purpose, passion and peace by helping people and families live from their:

  • hopes rather than their fears
  • possibilities rather than their limitations
  • imagination rather than their history

In an engaging and heart-centered exchange, webinar participants will have the opportunity to:

  • briefly share their experience of gun or other forms of violence
  • name their current biggest challenge and/or opportunity for growth
  • receive input and practical suggestions for moving forward through positive action.

  To register for this webinar, simply click here.   Space is limited, so register today!

For our faith-based clients

Self-Care of the Minister
Tom Reid, Senior Consultant

Back in the mid to late seventies I worked with the Ministry to Priests Program as part of the Center for Human Development at the University of Notre Dame. During that time we worked in more than thirty dioceses around the country. In the early eighties I facilitated a priest support group focused on spirituality and spiritual development. One of the mantras in the ministry to priest work was: “Your ministry is as healthy as you are.” This mantra has been borne out repeatedly in my subsequent work as a consultant and life coach as I have observed that the demands of ministry make it all too easy to be focused on the needs of others to the neglect of one’s own needs. These work experiences and my own process of human and spiritual development has repeatedly driven home the need to attend to self-care.

For many ministers and others in the helping professions, “self-care” is often associated with being selfish or self-centered. However, I believe it is an example of the practice of good stewardship, taking care of the gifts we have been given so that we have more to offer to the people that we live and work with, the communities we are part of, and the people we serve.

Developing an effective regimen of self-care takes energy, discipline and support. Identifying your priorities for the practice of self-care is just a start. We don’t naturally develop or mature in any area of our lives without the conscious commitment to become more focused and disciplined through consistent practice.

In an article titled, “Following Jesus in the Real World: Asceticism Today,” George Maloney helps us to see the rich potential of discipline which he describes as “the conscious self-control and systematic exercise of the Christian life in the light of obtaining the goal: the growing experience of God and a growing unity with God, neighbor and self.”

Discipline has, he says, a negative side in that it addresses “removing all that hinders one’s ability to love,” but it also has a positive side, emphasizing “consistent striving to gain virtues and graces that develop a Christian spirit of love.”

The negative image of discipline for many of us may stem from an image of God as judge and a spirituality which sees pleasure as bad and pain as good. Yet Maloney’s reference to negative and positive aspects of discipline—taking away and adding to—call to mind the concept of dying and rising so present in our minds, especially during Lent and Easter.

This Paschal mystery was a remote abstraction to me until the time of my father’s dying when I began to understand the connection between death and new life in a very personal way. I find discipline to be a friend because it keeps this connection always before me and helps me focus on these questions in my life: Where am I called to die or to let go, and where am I called to new life or new patterns of action?

Many leaders, and perhaps especially ministers, are tempted to ignore self-care in face of unceasing calls on their time and energy. But too many ministers learn the hard way that neglecting their own care leaves them with fewer and fewer resources with which to care for those they serve. Consistent practices of self-care regenerate the commitment to and energy for the important work of ministry.


The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning

Think about what your organization could do if the process of planning met the inevitability of change head-on—and it resulted in significant success.

bookcoverweb2Organizations large and small, religious and secular, for-profit and not-for-profit, successful and unsuccessful, go through change. John Reid and Maureen Gallagher of the Reid Group have been instrumental in helping many groups discover the power of Prophetic Planning. This book presents a complete overview with detailed information that any organization will find useful in understanding how to plan for change.

The Art of Change: Faith, Vision and Prophetic Planning, and its companion CD are now available from Liguori Publications as well as from Amazon.com.

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