By Jessica Connor
SPARTANBURG—United Methodists in the Upstate now have easier access to a place for Christian wellness and leadership development.
WaterRock Institute, a nonprofit center for life enrichment in Western North Carolina with an appointed United Methodist pastor at its helm, has opened a second office in Spartanburg.
The office is housed in Central United Methodist Church, which is providing the space free for WaterRock s ministry. Those involved say it gives the church a new, different way to minister to people wherever they are in their lives: emotionally, spiritually and physically. It is WaterRock s first office outside its headquarters in Asheville.
WaterRock offers programs and services that address the whole person, informed by the teaching and love expressed in Jesus Christ. Those services include wellness, coaching, pastoral counseling and spiritual direction, as well as leadership development for clergy and others.
As somebody who offers spiritual direction and spiritual counseling, I thought it would be a good opportunity for us to provide a place for someone who offers these services ¦ to use our facility in a way that would reach out to and benefit the community as a whole, said the Rev. Alex Stevenson, Central UMC s pastor.
The Rev. Heidi Campbell-Robinson, who was appointed by the WNC Conference to establish WaterRock and help it flourish for the benefit of the Kingdom, said she has been truly embraced by the Spartanburg District, by Central and by other United Methodists who are quickly learning about the center.
Not only does it underscore the United Methodist connection, but also Christians reaching out and embracing other Christians, Campbell-Robinson said.
She hopes more and more people will understand the importance of ministering to the many needs of the full person, especially from a Christian perspective.
There is more recognition of the holistic nature of healing, and one of the things I say in our mission is our services address the whole person, Campbell-Robinson said. There has been a lot of growth and increased understanding that there isn t just one segment to wellness.
Dr. John Simmons, physician and member of Central UMC who is an avid devotee of the mind-body-spirituality link, will teach some of the classes.
I m delighted that it s going to be there, and I m proud my home church is reaching out in terms of ministry that's a little bit different; it says a lot about the church, Simmons said.
Simmons said churches have a great opportunity to serve, minister and be with people where they are in their lives seven days a week, not just Sunday.
Sometimes the ˜places people are are places of darkness, pain or suffering, Simmons said. Because of the services WaterRock provides, they re the kinds of things that say the church cares all the time and the church cares where you are.
Simmons teaches Mind, Body, Spirit Skills Development workshops, among other holistic wellness classes. These workshops celebrate the gift of being human and are designed to foster understanding and awareness of the mind-body connection, all through Jesus.
Beyond wellness, Campbell-Robinson often works with clergy who want to further develop their time management, hold more effective meetings or enhance some of their other skills. She also does a lot of pastoral counseling dealing with the variety of issues, from life direction to marriage issues, depression and anxiety. Also, WaterRock staff can come to local churches and locations across S.C. to offer coaching, customized programs or retreats.
Services are available to anyone “ clergy or laity, United Methodist or not. WaterRock is actively seeking board members from the S.C. Conference, and is hoping to secure grants and other funds to establish a financial assistance fund so a wider variety of people in need can use their services.
This integration of leadership development and wellness and bringing spirituality on board is really my life s passion, and it s very exciting to be able to birth this organization, Campbell-Robinson said.
Dr. Paul Harmon, Spartanburg District superintendent, said he thinks the WaterRock Spartanburg location will be a valuable resource.
I hope we can use her skills and experience to develop some training opportunities in the district in the focus areas offered by the WaterRock Institute (creativity, leadership, wellness and spirituality), Harmon said. More immediately, though, it's great to have a place to which I and our pastors can refer people who need help in those areas; it has been a few years since we have had a UM pastoral counselor in Spartanburg.
To reach WaterRock, call 864-764-0608, or email [email protected] .