Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Spiritual Care and Counselling
Martin Luther University College
Clergy wellness is of keen interest to church leadership in recent years as mainline Canadian churches face rapid decline. The financial diminishment of the church has led to fewer clergy looking after more churches, and larger churches having fewer staff. The result is increased demands on clergy’s time and energy that pose a challenge to their wellness. Given this current reality, the importance of understanding what can support clergy wellness is crucial. The purpose of this research is to explore the question: “What is the experience of Anglican priests in the Diocese of Huron as they engage in supportive spiritual practices?” Through this research, a more thorough exploration of clergy’s narrated experience of their supportive practices has led to a deeper understanding of how these practices support wellness. Interviews were conducted with thirteen priests of the Diocese of Huron and analyzed using Jean Clandinin’s (2013) qualitative method of Narrative Inquiry. Themes that emerged from the research were as follows: care for their bodies, maintenance of their personal boundaries, nurture of their self-awareness, maintenance of their social support, clergy focus on effective communication, and linking their personal narrative with their understanding of the larger narrative of the Gospel. This research project provides the Diocese of Huron with insight into priests’ experience of spiritual practices and will be a helpful resource in supporting priests as they engage in their vocations. Further research is needed into the identified sub-theme of the congregational dynamic that sees increased expectations from congregation members when their clergy-person is in crisis. Also needed is further research into the identified theme of the experience of clergy as they place their own narratives inside and outside their understanding of the narrative of the Gospel.
Jenkins, Gregory, "Clergy Supportive Spiritual Practices" (2018). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2046.