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 Helpful literature and networks for Clergy Spouses, “Preacher’s Kids” and Those Who Care For Them

In 2014, GCSRW convened a research summit to identify the ways that unique struggles and stresses that clergy family experience, best practices for supporting clergy families, and to seek recommendations for how to better provide a denominational culture and resources for the spouses and children of United Methodist Clergy. Read the summit report here.

That summit identified recommendations for improved support and behaviors at multiple levels of the denomination, including annual conferences, districts, local church staff parish relations committees and an online resource and networking hub to be sponsored by the GCSRW. This webpage is a preview of a larger resource hub which will be developed in 2016 and the following quadrennium. 


Here are some of the best resources already available: 

Clergy Parsonage Standards Handbook:
At the request of clergy, clergy spouses and local churches, the General Commission on the Status and Role of Women developed this parsonage handbook containing suggested guidelines for church-owned clergy housing, sample agreement forms and checklists. Local staff-parish relations committees can use the handbook to develop their own guidelines or handbook for clergy housing.
Center For Health
A network of resources run by the UMC General Board of Pension and Health Benefits for clergy persons and their families.
13 Factors That Influence Clergy Heath
A short workbook to identify areas of potential stress or support in a clergy person’s life. This powerful resources can help clergy and lay leaders identify new strategies for strengthening clergy leadership and churches.
50 Ways to Support Your Pastor's Health and Well-Being
This brochure is intended to provide 50 ways to support your pastor’s well-being. These suggestions for the Pastor/Staff Parish Relations Committee and the congregation will help support their pastor’s health and well-being in all its dimensions physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial—and thereby also support the mission and ministry of the congregation.
The Episcopal Church: FOCUS
FOCUS is a volunteer group comprised of individuals concerned with the health and well-being of families of clergy
FOCUS Clergy Transition Toolkit:
An Episcopalian resource for local congregations to discuss support of the clergy person during moves.
50 Ways to Welcome Your New Pastor
Helpful tips for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership on hospitality and support for incoming pastors.  Click HERE to visit the Lewis Center for Church Leadership website, or click the icon to the right to download the PDF guide.
United Methodist Discipleship Ministries Archive of Webinars
GBOD offers webinars on a monthly basis. The webinars are offered “live”, then the recording of each webinar is provided through the GBOD website. The link to the list of all archived webinars is http://www.umcdiscipleship.org/webinars

The following are resources for clergy family support:

“2013 Clergy Health Implications for the Church”
“The Pastor’s Moving: The SPRC Role”
“Working Together for Healthy Clergy”
“SPRC Plans the Year”
“Making a ‘good’ Move”
“Healthy Church Leaders: Key Factors”
Guidelines for Leading Your Congregation 2013-2015
This set explains the basic responsibilities for all local church committees and positions. Each of the following include references to information regarding responsibilities to/with clergy families.

Trustees: Managing the Resources of the Congregation p.21 “Parsonage Responsibilities”
Pastor: Providing Spiritual Leadership for the Church in Mission p. 28 “Taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, intellectually, and spiritually….”
Family Ministries: Supporting Families for Faith and Service p. 21 “Clergy Families”
Pastor-Parish Relations: Connecting the Pastor, Staff, and Congregation p. 21-22 “Launch Staff Support” and p. 26 “Parsonage and Housing Issues”
Life in the Fish Bowl: Everyday Challenges of Pastors and Their Families
By F. Belton Joyner Jr. (published by Abingdon, Nashville) (Written with humor and understanding, this is a good resource for pastor parish committees and for pastors and their families.
Additional Books and Resources
A longer list of books and articles about clergy family stressors complied by the Clergy Family Care Inter-agency Task Force for the fall 2014 Clergy Family Care Summit.
What Clergy Spouses Want the UMC to Know
A report from the General Agency study “Clergy Spouses and Families
In The United Methodist Church 2009: Part II: Local Church Expectations”
A helpful overview of contemporary experiences, stressors and blessings experienced by the spouses of UMC Clergy
Report and Recommendations, Clergy Family Care Summit 2014
After dozens of clergy, their spouses and church leaders gathered in Chicago in October 2014, the Clergy Family Care task for compiled a list of the best practices and recommendations which arose from the gathered wisdom. The report and conclusions of this prayerful and productive weekend is useful to share with local district and conference leadership for guidance in improving the care of clergypersons and their families.
UMC Health Ministry Network
To help build and sustain conference and local church health ministry efforts, the Center for Health has partnered with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR Health) to establish the UMC Health Ministry Network (UMCHMN). This unique collaboration connects individuals interested in congregational health ministries across the United States. Essential to church vitality and healthy congregations, health ministry describes the variety of ways that churches can promote health for their clergy, congregants and communities
Clergy Health Survey Report
The Center for Health of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits conducts a survey of
The United Methodist Church (UMC) active U.S. clergy in order to continue to provide comparative
data for Center for Health clergy health research. This research is intended to help the denomination learn more about the health and well-being of its clergy. The information is used to monitor clergy health trends and needs as well as to develop enhanced programs and services to assist UMC clergy in leading healthier lives.  Click the icon at the right to download the survey.