Press Release: GBPHB Center for Health—2015 Clergy Health Survey Report Available

For Immediate Release
June 25, 2015

Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4296 or cnies@gbophb.org

Glenview, IL—The Center for Health of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) today released the 2015 Clergy Health Survey Report with results of its United Methodist Church (UMC) clergy questionnaire identifying clergy health trends.

For this third administration of the survey, the Center for Health reached out to 4,000 UMC clergy—1,501 clergy responded (38% return) to the 100-question online survey, representing a cross-section of active UMC clergy by jurisdiction, gender, race/ethnicity, age and clergy type. Multiple dimensions of health (physical, emotional, social and spiritual) and the vocational setting were explored. The survey questionnaire is based on—and continues to build on—clergy health research conducted for the 2009-2011 Church Systems Task Force (CSTF).

2015 Key Findings

  • 42% of respondents are currently obese—a much higher percentage than a demographically-matched sample of U.S. adults; an additional 37% are currently overweight
  • 49% have “ever had” high cholesterol at some point—also much higher than the comparable benchmark; 16% currently have high cholesterol
  • 35% have “ever had” high blood pressure at some point; 20% currently have high blood pressure
  • 7% suffer from depression as measured by frequency of depressive symptoms―more than twice that of the comparable benchmark
  • 11% are currently being treated for depression and are managing their symptoms
  • 26% of all clergy have at least some functional difficulty from depressive symptoms—higher than a demographically-matched sample of U.S. adults
  • 8% of UMC clergy continue to have higher rates of asthma, when compared to a matched sample of U.S. adults
  • 25% of clergy experienced stress as a result of dealing with ministry personnel who are critical of them
  • 46% of clergy experienced at least one intrusive ministry demand (e.g., not consulted about ministry decision; devotion to ministry questioned; doubts about pastor’s faith; etc.)

The complete 2015 Clergy Health Survey Report is available on the Center for Health website (www.wespath.org/cfh). It contains all findings, including key vocational and demographic differences. The website also contains previous clergy health survey reports and other clergy and congregational health resources. For further information, please contact Anne Borish or Jon Jones at umc-centerforhealthinfo@gbophb.org.

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About the General Board
The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBPHB) is a not-for-profit administrative agency of The United Methodist Church, responsible for the general supervision and administration of the retirement, health and welfare benefit plans, programs and funds for more than 91,000 UMC clergy and lay employees. GBPHB has Church-authorized fiduciary responsibility for the benefit plans it administers and the assets it invests.

GBPHB is the largest reporting faith-based pension fund and among the top 100 pension funds in the United States. As a sustainable investor, GBPHB is committed to active ownership through corporate and public policy engagement, proxy voting and the management of excessive sustainability risk. Through its Positive Social Purpose Lending program, GBPHB invests in affordable housing, community development and expanded loan opportunities for disadvantaged communities worldwide.

About the Center for Health
The Center for Health seeks to improve multiple dimensions of health and well-being—physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial—of clergy and lay workers of The United Methodist Church and their families. Under the auspices of GBPHB, Center for Health offerings include strategic consultation and collaboration for plan sponsors, comprehensive programs, information and educational resources focusing on wholistic* health and wellness, long-term clergy health monitoring and assessments, and network coordination with other UMC agencies, seminaries and conferences.


 

* n.b.: The “w” should be used with the word wholistic* when speaking of health ministry and parish/faith community nursing. The Rev. Dr. Granger Westberg first advocated the use of the term "wholistic" rather than "holistic," to more closely relate the term to wholeness and to avoid confusion with the term "holistic" that connotes non-religious alternative health care practices. The connotation of the “w” in this specialty practice is the Christian faith instead of the holistic without the “w,” which connotes no specific faith or belief.

 

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