Despite demanding work that often starts before sunrise and does not finish until late in the evening, clergy report higher levels of well-being than people in other occupations, because they are “filled with purpose”, a seven-year study suggests.
Started in 2011, the Experiences of Ministry Project has explored the views of 6000 Church of England clergy through regular national surveys, in addition to more than 100 in-depth interviews, and a series of week-long daily diaries. It was led by Dr Mike Clinton, a reader in work psychology at King’s College, London, and supported by the Ministry Division.
A summary, Effective Ministerial Presence and What It Looks Like in Practice, was presented at King’s last week. Its conclusions bear out the findings of the Living Ministry study published last week (News, 15 September).
“The well-being of clergy in our research compared favourably with other occupational groups,” the report says. “Despite having highly demanding roles, most priests cope, and even flourish, because they are filled with purpose, and derive meaning and fulfilment from their work. Even though they make substantial and frequent sacrifices as part of their role, they mainly do so willingly and see them as worthwhile.”
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