EVANSTON, Ill. — The Partner’s Path, an organization that offers connection and interfaith soul care for spouses of Episcopal clergy, has announced its official launch. The organization supports the spiritual, personal, and professional nourishment of spouses of Episcopal clergy through local-level and churchwide services.
Laura Jackson, founder of Holy Ground Coaching and a D.Min. candidate in Spirituality, serves as The Partner’s Path’s Executive Director. Jackson has previously worked as a chaplain, crisis counselor, trauma therapist, and spiritual director.
“In 20 years as a clergy spouse, I’ve had a front-row seat on several seminary communities, as well as parishes, dioceses and provinces,” said Jackson. “I’ve experienced strong community among spouses. I’ve seen how powerfully supportive it can be, and I want that for spouses across the church.”
Ardelle Walters, a licensed professional counselor, is the Founder of The Partner’s Path and will serve as Director of Donor Relations.
It is not uncommon for clergy and their spouses to find it difficult to navigate their own life challenges while living a curiously public life. Although the need for pastoral care for clergy is addressed across many religious traditions, the pastoral needs of their spouses are often less well recognized.
Initially conceived in 2019 by Walters with support from Calvary Episcopal Church in Memphis, TN, and the Diocese of Western North Carolina, The Partner’s Path provides members with the support they need to flourish and bring the diversity of gifts they possess more fully to the world. Its comprehensive services aim to facilitate a sustainable community and relieve unpaid labor expectations through workshops, retreats, training, consulting, and succession planning. The Partner’s Path supports clergy spouses in a wide range of issues, such as navigating the church benefits system, finding support for family members on vulnerable topics, and maintaining a healthy balance between public and private life.
“I love seeing clergy spouses excited about their lives and callings,” said Walters. “We are thrilled and honored to provide a place for them to be heard and reminded that their gifts and spiritual lives matter.”
Charles Zaucha, a cartographer, serves as the President of The Partner’s Path Board of Directors, JoAnne Doyle is the Secretary, and Natalie Harvey is the Treasurer.
“I joined The Partner’s Path as I originally had the need for this type of community, being new to the Episcopal Church and also a new clergy spouse. Now just a few years in, I see the benefit of such a network and I see the longing for it where it doesn’t exist,” said Zaucha. “I hope I can help bridge that gap and pay forward what others have done for me.”
The Partner’s Path’s work is deeply informed by Executive Director Jackson’s 10 years of experience as a clergy spouse in the Diocese of Texas and the community support it provided. The diocese remains an important influence and support for the organization.
“We in the Diocese of Texas support our clergy spouses. The Partner’s Path is a group that aligns with our ideas of caring for the clergy family and we want to see that grow,” says Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, Bishop of Texas. “Supporting The Partner’s Path is part of our understanding to serve one another and we are hopeful for its growth and spread across the church.”
About The Partner’s Path
The Partner’s Path is a place of connection and interfaith soul care for spouses of clergy in the Episcopal Church. The Partner’s Path supports the spiritual, personal, and professional nourishment of its members by facilitating sustainable community and providing local-level and churchwide services. To learn more, visit ThePartnersPath.com.
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