For Relationships and Leadership, the Gift of Renewal

Date Posted: 4/29/2013

An Arkansas-based program called Renew offers a retreat and relationship support to United Methodist clergy and their spouses.

Renew began by serving UMC clergy in Arkansas but has since expanded to serve the 10 episcopal areas of the church's South Central Jurisdiction, which covers a swath of the Southwest from Nebraska to Texas. It serves both clergy couples and single clergy.

The program has a number of goals, said Gary Swyers, the center's senior program manager. One is simply to offer pastors and spouses a relaxing, luxurious experience they might not be able to afford. Participants pay only the cost of travel to and from the retreats, which are held in a variety of locations. Another is to provide relationship counseling, both for couples and for singles. But the ultimate goal is for participants to strengthen their leadership skills.

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