Through analysis articulated in the Clergy Wellness Report (2006) and the initial findings of the Emotional Health of Clergy Report (2010), we have observed that there is more to the challenge of clergy stress than fickleness of congregations and the cultural pressures of increased consumerism among churchgoers.
This research points to interesting conclusions that differ slightly from the research Vitello noted, as well. CREDO’ s research found that the only major health factor for which Episcopal clergy are at greater risk than the larger population is stress. Yet, remarkably, work-related stress, which frequently leads the general population to employment dissatisfaction, job loss or job change, exists alongside notably lower “turnover intent” for Episcopal clergy. Compared to the general population, Episcopal clergy report significant levels of well-being, self-efficacy and meaning in their work.
“Clergy are both very happy and satisfied and very stressed,” concludes the Rev. Joseph Stewart-Sicking, who continues to study clergy emotional health. “These two dimensions are somewhat independent and are influenced by different factors. In order to help clergy achieve a healthy balance of emotions, it is not enough to reduce stressors or capitalize on the positive things in ministry; it will take both. Moreover, just helping clergy cope with problems is insufficient to help them flourish.”