United Methodist pastors feel worse and worry more than a decade ago

by | Aug 10, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — United Methodist clergy have been through the wringer in recent years, with a worldwide pandemic, a church schism and the ongoing decline of one of the nation’s largest Protestant denominations.Those stresses have likely taken a toll on their health, a new report shows.
A survey of 1,200 United Methodist clergy found that half have trouble sleeping, a third feel depressed and isolated, half are obese, and three-quarters are worried about money.
Almost all of those measures have worsened in the past decade, according to the study from Wespath, which administers benefits for pastors and employees at United Methodist institutions.
Overall, United Methodist pastors feel worse and worry more than they did a decade ago.
“Even though we saw some areas of well-being improve in 2023 after very dismal results in 2021, the overall 10-year lookback tells us that clergy well-being, which was a problem a decade ago, is an even bigger problem today,” said Kelly Wittich, director of health and well-being at Wespath, in announcing the survey’s findings. “We see that clergy struggle with well-being compared to their secular counterparts, in no small part due to the often unrealistic demands placed on clergy from multiple directions.”

“Decline in Overall Perceived Well-Being — 10-Year Trends” Courtesy image
The study found that 11% of pastors said they are in excellent health, down from 17% in 2013, while 1 in 10 (9%) said they are in fair health, double the number from a decade ago.
The report did not in …

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