From Weary to Wholehearted

A Restorative Resource for Overcoming Clergy Burnout

Callie E. Swanlund

May/2024, 224 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9781640656789

An empowering antidote to one of the leading challenges facing clergy and lay ministers today: burnout.

Clergy and lay ministry professionals are exhausted. The past few years of collegial loneliness, ever-changing ministry practices, illness and death, and declining church attendance have led many to report finding less joy in their ministry. Suffering the effects of burnout and declining mental health, some clergy are contemplating a radical vocational change, or have already left traditional ministry altogether. From Weary to Wholehearted isn’t a quick fix, but a much-needed companion to remind faith leaders they are not alone, support them through sustainable tools for finding joy and rest, and re-ground them in spiritual nourishment.

Swanlund calls readers to show up with their whole heart, vulnerably and courageously. Each section will address a source of weariness, including overwhelm, loneliness, comparison, lack of inspiration, and more. The book incorporates research in the fields of sociology and psychology, as well as Swanlund’s experience as a faith leader, spiritual companion, and Certified Daring Way facilitator. The chapters will contain scripture, personal meditation, reflection prompts, an invitation toward flourishing, and an original prayer. Drawing upon the rhythm of the liturgical calendar, From Weary to Wholehearted begins with the spiritual themes of justice and anticipation in Advent and moves through the sustainable practices invited by Ordinary Time. While not expressly a homiletic or liturgical resource, it will infuse new life into the ministry of emotionally impoverished preachers and lay leaders.

Callie Swanlund is a retreat leader, spiritual companion, and coach. An ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, she is growing a creative ministry and leads individuals and groups in the work of Dr. Brené Brown as a Certified Daring Way Facilitator. Her film, How2charist: Digital Instructed Eucharist, has reached Christians around the world. An Episcopal Church Foundation fellow, Swanlund has keynoted the Kanuga Christian Formation Conference and the annual conference for Episcopal Communicators. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

"Even if you don’t identify as ‘burned out,’ the reflections and practices in From Weary to Wholehearted will feel like fresh rainwater poured on parched land. Read this book—it will restore your spark.”—Stephanie Spellers, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Evangelism, Reconciliation, and Creation Care; author of Radical Welcome: Embracing God, the Other, and the Spirit of Transformation and The Church Cracked Open: Disruption, Decline, and New Hope for Beloved Community

“If you’re a hardworking pastor or a passionate justice advocate in the church or elsewhere in these stressful times, this book may save your life!"—Carter Heyward, professor emerita of the Episcopal Divinity School and author of The Seven Deadly Sins of White Christian Nationalism: A Call to Action

“If you have been feeling worried, wearied, or worn in ministry, this book is for you. From Weary to Wholehearted is a much-needed spark for church leaders seeking to reignite their passion for following Jesus along the way. Callie offers a deeply pastoral and truly refreshing companion guide to help Church leaders rediscover the immense passion at the heart of our call.”—Deon K. Johnson, Bishop, the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

“In a time when pandemic, violence, changes in church and community can leave us in a state of near burnout, heartbreak, weariness of soma and soul, Callie Swanlund’s beautiful book is a lifegiving spark. Through liturgical season and personal story, it offers a memorable, practical, and transformative model that can function as an invitational flint to ignite wholeheartedness in ministry, not just for weary clergy and aspiring seminarians but for all who are enflamed by the Holy.”—Storm Swain, the Frederick Houk Borsch Associate Professor of Anglican Studies, Pastoral Care, and Theology at United Lutheran Seminary

“What I appreciated the most about From Weary to Wholehearted was how it addressed the moments in life where we feel unsettled, where we are neither fully alive nor dead. Callie acknowledges the difficulty of these moments, but also highlights the importance of sitting with our emotions, searching our souls, and waiting with our hearts. Throughout the book, she reminds us that God is with us, whether we are in moments of joy or grief. I highly recommend From Weary to Wholehearted to anyone who is looking for guidance on how to navigate vulnerability, grief, and the in-between moments of life. Callie’s insights are transformative and will leave you feeling empowered, hopeful, and, yes, wholehearted.”—Roger Hutchison, author of The Art of Calm: Spiritual Exercises for the Anxious Soul

“Callie Swanlund is the real deal, and this book is an absolute treasure for those who are weary and heavy-laden. With grace, compassion, and practical wisdom, From Weary to Wholehearted is an oasis in the desert of clergy burnout. For all of my clergy siblings who are suffering in these anxious times, find the courage to open this book and let the Holy Spirit speak to you through this resource. You won’t be disappointed. Thank you, Callie, for this remarkable guide. It is a gift to the Church. I will recommend it to clergy everywhere.”—Traci Smith, leadership coach and author of the Faithful Families series

“In this new era of ministry, emerging after a global pandemic, we need Rev. Callie Swanlund’s love letter to lay leaders and clergy. She understands the weariness that leaders are feeling. She responds with generous and inspiring remedies for healing the whole heart, body, mind, and spirit. Each SPARK Practice calls us to remember who we are deep in our bones, to make our thoughtful plans, to lean into wonder, to rest often, and to know we are not alone.”—Eileen Campbell-Reed, author of Pastoral Imagination: Bringing the Practice of Ministry to Life, visiting associate professor of pastoral theology and care at Union Theological Seminary, codirector of the Learning Pastoral Imagination Project, founder and host of Three Minute Ministry Mentor

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