Clergy-in-Kairos Program for Priests and Clergy Couples at the Pastoral Institute, Columbus, GA

Increasingly, priests and clergy couples are encountering a variety of challenges and effects of accumulated stress in their personal and relational life. Seeking support to work through these challenges can be a challenge in itself.  Below you will find: information on a 5-day residential program that over 30 Orthodox priests and/or clergy couples have attended in the past three years; excerpts from testimonies of Orthodox clergy couples who have attended the Clergy-In-Kairos program; the link for the program on the Pastoral Institute’s Website; and, a link to a research article on the efficacy of the program for those suffering from burnout. Three aspects of this program make it particularly suitable for Orthodox priests and clergy couples:

  1. This program is designed specifically for ordained clergy and clergy couples facing transitions/challenges/crossroads/crises
  2. The caregivers in this program are trained specifically to work with the clergy and clergy couple population; thus they “get” clergy family life.
  3. The program includes daily work with an Orthodox Christian therapist, Deacon Stephen Muse, who is deeply steeped in prayer and Orthodox theology/life/practice, and the best that the psychological world has to offer.  

If you are interested in attending this program but are unable to do so because of finances, please contact Kerry Pappas (, the Coordinator for Clergy and Seminarian Couple Care, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese. I will do my best to help you find the resources you need in the strictest of confidence and honoring your privacy.

Still Waters in the midst of ministry’s raging currents…

 The Pastoral Institute’s Clergy-in-Kairos program has been an oasis of refreshment and spiritual renewal for clergy for over two decades. We offer a personalized week-long mini sabbatical of  therapy, spiritual direction, vocational assessment. therapeutic massage and education in stress and wellness.  

The word kairos, refers to the opportune moment in which transformation occurs. Clergy (and clergy couples) choose the clergy-in-kairos week in order to address stress and burnout, for vocational discernment, as an intensive growth-oriented pastoral-theological “tune-up” as part of a larger sabbatical or for refreshment, evaluation and re-invigoration of on-going ministry. Others are mandated referrals by their Bishops or judicatory officers in order to address specific concerns.  Occasionally we have hosted pastoral staff to help resolve chronic conflict. A summary evaluative report may be requested which is useful for discernment and decision-making regarding potential for future ministry.

The multi-counselor intensive interpersonal encounter lasts one week. Typically, the week begins on Monday morning with the completion of required paperwork and assessments to help the team evaluate the participant’s current emotional and spiritual state of mind. Other assessments are completed online prior to the visit. The clergy is paired with two pastoral counselors for the week and sees both each day. A third ministry coach spends two hours during the week reviewing the results of the online assessments with the participant, as they pertain to leadership and relationships in the church. When clergy couples attend together, a third pastoral counselor/MFT works with the couple daily.

Time for relaxation, suggested reading, reflection and rest are built into the week including the availability of therapeutic massage if desired. Participants receive complimentary week-long accommodations in an upscale hotel convenient to the Pastoral Institute made possible by local hospitality groups in support of clergy well-being. A variety of opportunities exist along the 20+ mile Columbus Riverwalk which includes the #1 man-made white-water rapids course in the world (USA Today), scientific and artistic venues and a multitude of restaurants and outdoor cafes.

 The week concludes on Friday with a short exit interview, usually by mid-day, to allow for travel back home for the weekend.

 For the 2017 year, the basic cost of the program is $2067.  Where clinical summary reports are required, there is an additional $360 fee. Depending on the nature of the assessments when additional psychological assessments are needed, additional costs are involved. Hotel accommodations are gratis as a gift from local donors who support the clergy.  

 Fees are kept as low as possible because we do not file or accept insurance for this program. The cost is the responsibility of the participant and/or the judicatory depending on whatever arrangement is made prior to scheduling the week. Typically churches and/or denominations cover these costs and the clergy may occasionally pay a portion of them. In cases of demonstrated financial need, limited financial assistance is available.

 Personal expenses related to transportation to and from Columbus and the Pastoral Institute, therapeutic massage, food and entertainment expenses as desired, are in addition to the cost above and the responsibility of the participants.

 If you are interested in the program, would like literature describing it more completely, or to see peer-reviewed published material on its effectiveness, or would like to refer someone to the program, please let us know.  For further information or for logistical coordination of the week, contact Ms. Christina Green,  (706-649-6500 ext 1306.)

 For all clinical or pastoral issues and concerns, time can be arranged to speak with me directly by contacting me at or leaving me a message 706-649-6507 ext 1230.

 Thank you for inquiring about this program!


Gratefully Hoping in Christ,

Rev. Dn. Stephen Muse,   PhD, LMFT, CCMHC, D.A.A.E.T.S.

Director of Education and Counselor Trainingand Clergy-in-Kairos Program

Pastoral Institute, Inc.
2022 15th Ave.
Columbus, Georgia 31901

800-649-6446 ext 1230

fax 706-649-6363

Excerpts from Testimonies: 

“The people at the Pastoral Institute were incredible! We were deeply moved and very impressed with the individuals that we encountered from the very beginning of the process. . . The week was intense and challenging, but tremendously helpful. As clergy and presvyteres we have very few places and people we can turn to when our own marriages are in crisis. We know too many priests and presvyteres who felt they had nowhere and no one to turn to and as a result, their marriages have suffered greatly, and some have even ended. We lovingly and gladly give all we have to the people we serve in the parish, and yet like any human being, there are times when we as priests and presvyteres run into rough waters and need help. Both of us feel very strongly in recommending the Pastoral Institute to any clergy or clergy couple who are struggling. Honestly, we believe it saved our marriage! . . .”

“We would recommend the Kairos program for every clergy couple to strengthen their marriage and to maximize their emotional and spiritual health. If a clergy couple finds themselves in an unhealthy parish environment, the program is a necessity for their health and well being. The program is one of the few things a couple can do to receive immediate benefit. The staff is professional and they are attentive and sensitive to the total needs of the priest and his family. The whole experience is very refreshing.”

“Being in the ministry for over 20 years not only took a toll on Fr.’s health and well being, but it greatly impacted our marriage.  Most clergy families feel so isolated that they don’t even know where to begin to look for help. From the moment we stepped through those doors we were cared for. There aren’t many programs geared specifically for clergy in the US and I believe that Kairos is the only one that is based in Orthodoxy. Each day we went through individual counseling with our own therapist, then one joint session with Deacon Stephen Muse for marriage counseling. By the end of the week we were throughly exhausted but so incredibly encouraged and hopeful. We were also given a follow up plan for when we got home, including counseling recommendations, what to focus on in future counseling, books and articles geared to our personal needs. . .  One of the most beneficial and unique aspects of going there was working with Deacon Stephen Muse.  He is so steeped in Orthodoxy,  psychology and the intricacies of the clergy couple.  We felt safe, and completely understood. . .