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Pastors and their spouses from a range of denominations are struggling with many of the same personal issues, says Rev. Norm Thomasma, director of the Christian Reformed Church’s Office of Pastor-Church Relations.

Participants from several denominations took part in a conference this summer that focused on providing care to pastors and their spouses.

Issues such as use of pornography, substance abuse, and unemployment are confronting pastors and their spouses in the CRC and in many other denominations.

Thomasma said he was reminded of this when he attended an annual multidenominational conference for caregivers and pastoral counselors this summer in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“Even though we come from such different theological traditions, the pastoral care and other related issues are so similar,” he says.

“We come away from this conference realizing that we aren’t the only ones dealing with these issues. We also hear about different strategies that denominations use to help pastors and their spouses.”

Thomasma and Cecil Van Niejenhuis, pastor/congregation consultant for Pastor-Church Relations, represented the CRC at the two-day gathering.

The gathering helps the Pastor-Church Relations office in its many tasks, including advocating for healthy relationships among congregations, pastors, and staff and providing direct consultation in times of transition or crisis, Thomasma says.

This year’s meeting at the headquarters of the Christian and Missionary Alliance denomination in Colorado Springs included representatives from the CRC and several other denominations, including the Evangelical Free Church of America, the Evangelical Covenant Church, the Foursquare Church, the Wesleyan Church, the International Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Church of the Nazarene.

“This meeting gives us a chance to experience being part of the broader church world,” says Thomasma.

“We learn some things at this meeting, but we are also affirmed that we are doing some good ministry.”

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