Like many people serving in professions in which they feel “called,” clergy are not immune to stress and burnout. The Duke Endowment partnered with the Duke Clergy Health Initiative to study the acceptability, feasibility and effectiveness of stress management tools with the goal of identifying practices that would allow clergy in the North Carolina United Methodist (UMC) conferences, and beyond, to live more fully into the sacred work of ministry. The Selah Stress Management project engaged nearly 300 UMC clergy from across the state to rigorously test three separate stress management practices. As outlined in the report, the findings demonstrate these practices are proven to reduce stress and anxiety and improve physiological responses to stress.
Duke Clergy Health Initiative’s work was recently featured in an article from the Duke Global Health Institute, “Clergy Learn Ways to Tackle Stress to Better Serve Others.” This article includes perspectives from four UMC pastors who participated in the Selah Stress Management project and how the three stress reduction practices have impacted their lives, health and ministries.