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    The Upper New York Conference of The United Methodist Church


    news article

    Dr. Laura LeCours helps support pastors’ wellbeing

    January 13, 2023 / By Shannon Hodson / .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the 2022 Volume II edition of the Advocate, which focused on spiritual wellness.

    While congregants rely on pastors to help support their wellbeing, pastors are appreciative when members of their congregation look out for them and help them to take Sabbath, to take care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health.

    Many congregations throughout the Upper New York Conference have members in their congregation who work in the medical field and because of their knowledge of what it takes to be healthy and well, they can be an excellent support for their pastors.

    Dr. Laura LeCours has been a medical doctor for dozens of years. She is deeply rooted in her membership at Saratoga Springs UMC. Her parents were confirmed and married there. She grew up in the church and was also confirmed and married there. Her children grew up there and were confirmed and married there as well. Her son is currently the Chair of Trustees. Dr. LeCours is currently the Lay Leader of the church and has served in several leadership roles there, including being the leader of SPRC, worship, and mission work.

    Dr. LeCours is exceptionally enthusiastic about being a leader in her church; she exclaimed, “Being lay leader is a fun role to have!”

    Pastors throughout the years at Saratoga Springs have always been able to rely on Dr. LeCours to help with whatever is needed at the church, but perhaps most important, Dr. LeCours has supported pastors in their health and wellbeing.

    “It’s almost an impossible job to be a pastor—their job description really is to be committed to everyone’s lives. Members may just see them as the speaker from the pulpit. That is not all—think of the hospital visits, the funerals, and weddings they perform. There is so much that they must handle. And the pandemic with all the challenges that came with it and the division in the Church, makes their jobs even harder,” Dr. LeCours said.

    One way that Dr. LeCours has supported  her pastors’ wellbeing is by joyfully offering her lake house as a place for pastors to use for rest and renewal. She said “Pastors Drew (the Rev. Drew Sperry) and Heather (The Rev. Heather Williams) have used my lake house as a retreat space.”

    She added, “And Heather goes there sometimes just to have a place to breathe.”

    Rev. Williams explained that the lake house is one way among many that Dr. LeCours has helped support pastors; she said, “The lake house is just one piece of a larger picture. For me, in 20 years of full-time ministry, I have felt supported by the congregations I have served with. What makes Laura stand out is that she advocates for her pastors to rest and renew for the work of spiritual leadership. She finds way to make it happen and even more importantly, she encourages the rest of the congregation to support the needs of the pastoral leadership. She's not just reminding you by asking questions like, ‘When will you take time off, Heather?’ She helps to clear the way to that much needed renewal. And why? Because she believes that a good leader needs time to restore for the journey ahead.”

    Dr. LeCours suggested that congregants remember that “every single pastor is a person,” with the same essential need for rest and renewal as everyone else.

    How will you enable your pastor to take time off and truly rest so that they may thrive as a spiritual leader?

    TAGGED / Advocate


    With more than 134,000 members, the Upper New York Annual (Regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church comprises 865 local churches and 85 new faith communities in 12 districts, covering 48,000 square miles in 49 of the 62 counties in New York state. Our mission is to “live the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to be God’s love with our neighbors in all places."