Welcome to our theological study of clergy depression and healing. This study was prepared as a final project in a course "Theological Thinking for Everyday Life and Ministry," taught September-December 2003 at Boston University School of Theology.
Three women--Annie B, Rebecca C, and Anastasia K--collaborated on this study. Annie has her Master of Divinity, and is appointed to a United Methodist church and a part time student; Rebecca is a third-year M. Div. student and a candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church; Anastasia is also a third-year M. Div. student and soon to be a candidate for ordination in the United Church of Christ. As clergy women and soon-to-be clergy women, we view the problem of clergy depression as something that must be addressed by clergy, congregations, and social structures. We recognize the risk of depression all people face, and are especially aware that clergy and clergy women in particular are vulnerable to experiencing depression on a short-term or a long term basis. Clearly, our reflection is focused on Christian clergy generally and Christian clergy women specifically, but we hope that the ideas presented here will be helpful to many individuals who suffer with depression, and to the loved ones and communities who seek to support them.
We hope to show through our reflection that depression is not a weakness or lack of faith, but a part of life for many people, a part of life which must be named and addressed, and within which individuals and communities must learn to heal. We believe that God is present in all things, including in the depth of despair. We believe that God hears the lament of one who cries "out of the depths," and we believe that healing can occur for individuals and communities who live with depression. We hope to offer a vision of God's presence in both the depression and the healing, and a plan for healing--including resources, referrals, and a bit of humor--that can encourage wholeness and health for those living with depression.
Our project begins with a case study.
It is important to note that the authors of this website are not mental health professionals, and that this information should not be used by anyone to self-diagnose a mental illness. Anyone who feels as if they are suffering from depression in any of its clinical forms should seek professional help.
[Proceed to Case Study]