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UM MN Bishop Dyck's New Age Lent:  Pastors Fasting to Experience Inner "Spiritual Spa" while Trimming Down

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Methodist pastors get Lenten directive

Minnesota's United Methodist bishop is encouraging the church's pastors to indulge a little during Lent, at the same time putting them on a diet.

For many Christians, the 40 days leading up to Easter are marked by self-denial: fasting, abstinence ("giving up something for Lent'') and penance. Life often feels like that anyway for clergy, Bishop Sally Dyck said.

"Lent is a spiritual spa," Dyck told Twin Cities-area pastors recently, encouraging them to think of the season as a vacation. "Usually, Lent isn't a time for vacation, but when we exercise healthy self-care every day -- for our bodies, minds and spirits -- we give ourselves a respite."

She recommended pastors follow a daily "Lenten spa" regimen: eating five to nine fruits and vegetables, exercising at least 30 minutes, and praying and reading the Bible for 30 minutes.

As an added incentive, she said for each pound the pastors lose by Easter, she will donate $2 to a project for Russian United Methodists and the building fund of La Puerta Abierta United Methodist Church in St. Paul.

Dyck said she is asking her pastors to relinquish their workaholic, unhealthy behaviors as a spiritual discipline.

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