Metropolitan Gerasimos, center right, with Clergy at 2014 Metropolis Clergy Retreat at Saint Nicholas Ranch and Retreat Center.
In 2007-2008 the Metropolis of San Francisco initiated a Family Wellness Ministry with the help of a two-part grant of $200,000 from Leadership 100. The purpose was to address the spiritual, emotional and psychological health and wellness of its clergy and faithful through a focused effort led by dedicated clergy, staff and volunteers. Several programs were established, including:
Clergy Couples Retreats to address the unique needs of Priests and Presvyteres to strengthen them in their ministries and marriages.
Continuing Education Programs for Clergy including annual clergy retreats, regional synaxes and guest speakers to provide for ongoing learning to enhance their ministries.
- Family Enrichment Programs offering Christ-centered activities to reinforce the importance of a loving home, the importance of prayer, worship, and serving those in need.
- Addiction Support Programs which provide a path towards recovery, focusing on the healing power of Jesus Christ.
- Grief and Bereavement Groups to minister to those who have experienced the loss of loved ones.
- Leadership Mentoring Program to cultivate young professionals for future leadership of the Metropolis Council, ministries and committees.
In July 2012, the Metropolis initiated the development of a Strategic Plan. One of the main task forces in the plan focuses on Wellness ministries, building upon the programs already offered at parishes in the Metropolis and expanding this important ministry to include:
- The formation of a Wellness Committee in each parish to work with the Metropolis in offering programs that provide for spiritual enlightenment, emotional stability, and strengthening interpersonal relationships.
- Marriage preparation and enrichment through Prepare/Enrich to help couples establish and maintain a relationship based on faith in Christ, keeping Him at the center of their marriages, home and family.
- The establishment of a Parish Nurse Ministry to support elderly parishioners in the areas of general medical oversight, community resources and collaboration with health agencies to serve the needs of aging parishioners.
- Offering DivorceCare, a faith-based program designed to support those who are divorced as well as children of divorced parents to help them adjust to this significant change in their lives.
The Strategic Plan also addresses Missions and Evangelism, Stewardship, Philanthropic Outreach, Communications, Parish Organization and Development, Youth, Finances, Metropolis Organization and Development, Liturgical Life, and Education. The final plan was presented at the 2014 Metropolis Clergy-Laity Assembly where it was received with resounding enthusiasm. With the support of many dedicated volunteers, the implementation of the plan has now begun. More information on the Metropolis of San Francisco Strategic Plan can be found online at www.sanfran.goarch.org.
In crediting Leadership 100 for its timely support of the initial development of this innovative ministry, Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco said: “With dedication, determination, and most importantly, God’s grace and wisdom, these expanded programs will enrich our parishes and provide more resources for our clergy and faithful.”