Reading time: two minutes. For the last of our summer epigrams, (short sayings with a nugget of truth), I thought I’d mention one we hear all the time: “Grace Place. I’ve heard of that. Where is it, exactly?” We now encourage people to say “Grace Place Wellness“; we’re a ministry not a location. But it is still a legitimate, and I believe, a healthy question. We ask it all the time on our retreats. “Where is your Place of Grace? What happens there?” The point here is that any-place can be a Grace Place, because the grace of God is always available to those who have been graciously received into the presence of the Father by the grace-full gift of Holy Baptism. So where’s your Grace Place? The tragic irony here is that professional church workers spend their lives helping everyone else discover the joys of living in the grace of God, but far too often fail to enjoy the blessings of grace themselves. I’ve experienced myself, and witnessed in many, many others, some of the pitfalls of our occupation. Church workers tend to have “people-pleaser” personality types. When that is compounded by the unrealistic expectations of a job description that no one could possibly achieve to everyone’s satisfaction, along with our passion to serve with excellence, we’re particularly prone to negative self-talk and the internal litanies of self-criticism. That’s a sermon we don’t need because anyone in ministry will have far more than their fair share of critics without pitching in themselves! Our theological training teaches us that grace is the answer. We all fall well short of perfection. All. Church workers included. That’s the law. So please remember the gospel. The law can only cut and wound. Only the gospel heals. And there’s not a day that goes by when we don’t need the healing touch of grace. So find your Grace Place. Find it in the word of God. Drink deeply every day from the Lord’s promise of forgiveness and absolute acceptance for Christ’s sake. Find it in your baptism. Pause a thousand times a day if necessary, to remember your Father’s covenant of love, sealed and guaranteed by the Spirit. Find your Grace Place at home, with your spouse and family. Establish your home as a place of forgiveness and loving, welcoming acceptance. Find your Grace Place in the fellowship of the saints and your peers. Live in the unity that God has given by mutual encouragement and support. A Grace Place Wellness Retreat is a wonderful experience on the mountaintop. Our hope is that you will find you Place of Grace in the valley where you live. Next week we begin an eight-week look at Joy and the Fruit of the Spirit. Thanks for reading. Do you serve on a professional church worker conference planning committee? Our staff has vast experience leading groups of all sizes from every church work background through innovative wellness programs custom designed to meet your needs. Contact Program Director Darrell Zimmerman today to begin exploring the possibilities or visit our website to see some of our ideas for your conference!