Exploring Clergy Self-care: A New Zealand Study

By Franco Vaccarino and Tony (Max Anthony) Gerritsen.

Published by The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

It is generally understood and expected that clergy care for others; however, one often forgets that clergy also need attention. Unless clergy take time to care for their own needs, they may not be as effective in supporting others. Even very competent clergy may suffer huge physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strain whilst trying to sustain their callings. Many clergy experience high levels of anxiety and stress and may burn out within the ministry because they have life's priorities out of balance. Among the key concepts impacting on clergy well-being are the need for balance and boundaries, the body’s need for adequate rest, the rationale for Sabbath and sabbaticals, and the appropriate use of time. Ordained clergy in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey to investigate these issues as well as find out their understanding of self-care. Many participants acknowledged the importance of self-care and know what should be done, however, it is evident that many clergy work very long hours and don’t take enough time to rest, rejuvenate, and be restored. Some struggled with setting clear boundaries. Some did not have networks of support to assist them in their ministries.

Keywords: Clergy Self-care

The International Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Society, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp.69-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 549.284KB).

Dr. Franco Vaccarino

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication, Journalism and Marketing, Massey University, Palmerston North, Manawatu, New Zealand

Senior Lecturer at the School of Communication, Journalism, and Marketing at Massey University, New Zealand.

Tony (Max Anthony) Gerritsen

St John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand, Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Principal of St John’s Theological College in Auckland, New Zealand, the Anglican Province’s primary training centre for stipendiary clergy