Yes and no! Spirited Life:™ Selah is an outgrowth of the previous work done by the Clergy Health Initiative in which over 1200 pastors were guided through two years of holistic health interventions. Selah builds on that work by going deeper into the particular health areas of mental health and stress. Unlike the first iteration of Spirited Life™, Selah is an intervention program that will teach up to 550 clergy one of three stress-reduction practices.

If you are currently (2020-2021) under appointment as an elder, deacon, local pastor, or extension minister in either the Western NC Conference or NC Conference of the United Methodist Church, you are eligible for Spirited Life: Selah. If you are retired, but currently under appointment, you are eligible. Participation in Spirited Life (2010-2014) is NOT required for participation in Spirited Life: Selah. If you were a control participant during the pilot phase of Spirited Life: Selah, we would love if you joined us for a workshop and practice this time!

Email us at selah@duke.edu. In fact, this is the email address you can write to if you have any questions at any time along the Selah journey. Our team will be happy to answer your questions.

Yep! Every day for six months following your workshop, you will receive a text message from us with a reminder to practice as well as encouragement and tips along the way. Each day we ask you to easily respond to these texts with the number of minutes you practiced the previous day.

A normal human heart does not beat evenly like a metronome. Rather, upon closer observation there is constant variability between heartbeats. Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measures the variation in the time interval between consecutive heartbeats in milliseconds. HRV can be influenced by respiration, exercise, hormonal reactions, metabolic processes, cognitive processes, stress and recovery. When humans are relaxed, HRV increases. The activation of stress hormones and increase in a heart’s contraction rate decrease HRV. In the Spirited Life: Selah program, we measure HRV of participants for a 48-hour period at two different time points in the program in hopes of finding that participants’ HRV has increased across the six months of practice, thus indicating that the stress practices have been effective at helping participants manage their stress reduction.

The data collected from clergy during Spirited Life: Selah will be used to draw conclusions on effective ways to help clergy manage the stresses of ministry during changing and divisive times. This data will be shared with The Duke Endowment, the leadership of the two North Carolina Conferences, and applied broadly by groups across the denomination and ecumenical community to support clergy.

Spirited Life: Selah is funded by The Duke Endowment and offered to clergy free of charge. However, participation does require a commitment of time and effort.

No. The services and the research are integrally related to one another so that we can improve the services over time, and so that other conferences or churches who might want to adopt the same or a similar program can be assured of its benefits.

Absolutely not. None of your health information or survey responses will ever be revealed in a way that could identify you. View our confidentiality policies.

Your participation is voluntary. You may choose not to participate in any or all parts of the study. Your conference will have no way of knowing whether you have agreed to participate in the program, and they will not know any of your health data or survey responses. Also, you may decline to answer any questions on the surveys. You may withdraw your authorization for us to use your data that have already been collected (other than data needed to keep track of your withdrawal), but you must do this in writing by contacting Duke Clergy Health Initiative, 2608 Erwin Rd., Suite 1480241, Durham NC 27705, or via email at selah@duke.edu. For questions about your rights as a research participant, contact the Chair of the Human Subjects Committee at Duke University at 919.684.3030.

Thank you so much for participating in the Selah pilot program. It is because of you that we are able to have confidence in these additional workshops being offered now. We appreciate your continued interest. Because of limited resources, we must give other clergy first dibs on the current workshops. However, if you would like to go on a wait list, we would be delighted to contact you if a workshop does not fill or if there is a cancellation at the last minute. You would not be part of the research, but could potentially participate in the workshop and follow-up sessions.