30 October 2014

A Big Thank-you!

We have been humbled by the response and enthusiasm that has been coming from people about this study. The clergy spouses and children who are willingly sharing their stories, good and hard, as well as registering to help with future research has really encouraged us to keep going and get these results out there so Australia can know what is going on! Thank you to all the universities, church denominations, individuals and Christian groups who are sharing this study, please keep it up!

While we haven't started looking at results, we are very close to our minimum of 100 responses to ensure anonymity for participants. For more on anonymity, have a look at this blog :)

The next entry here is from my very talented research assistant! Trained in science, theology and with a first-hand experience caring for clergy families - as well as being a clergy worker.

23 October 2014

Why Clergy Family Research Matters (Guest Writer)

I was privileged to receive this note from a retired Australian clergy worker who wanted to share their thoughts on our clergy family research project. With their permission I have included it below. Some great insights and encouraging words.

"A quick note to all those who have passed on the survey for the spouses and adult children of clergy workers, but have not themselves (as clergy with families) had a chance to share their own experiences. As a former clergy worker I have seen many clergy family dynamics, from burnt-out senior clergy at ‘close of business’ Christmas Day, to young families struggling with unhelpful church/family boundary pressures. As I think about these issues, what concerns me the most is that whilst clergy may have fellow workers or regional oversight, there seems to be a serious lack of support for their families.

19 October 2014

A Study In Context

This study is important, I would argue crucial, to better understanding Australian clergy families and how they experience ministry. This particular study has been designed with the help of past international research, talking to individual clergy spouses and children, and several experts in survey design, counselling, ethics, and law. I can now finally cap the number of question drafts at 40 over 4 months of extensive reading and discussions with other professionals.

16 October 2014

Research Project Launched!

**Update: The study has now closed to participants but the results will be available early 2017)**
We are excited to announce that our Clergy Family Research Project is now available online! Officially approved by the Christian Research Association (CRA) Ethics Committee, it is available to any clergy spouse or adult child from any Australian church denomination!

9 October 2014

The Pastor’s Kid by Barnabas Piper (Book Review)

First of all, I want to say thank you to Barnabas Piper for courageously writing such a difficult book! It is not an easy topic for anyone (let alone the child of a famous minister) to talk about this subject publicly, in the hope that someone will listen and it will make a difference. Without people like him, this topic would go unnoticed and continue causing potentially irreversible damage to individuals and relationships.

3 October 2014

Clergy Kids: Give Them A Break

The quotes in this piece are from a book-chapter called 'Clergy Kids: Give Them A Break' by Catherine Hickem, a Christian psychotherapist, pastor's kid, and clergy wife. I was struck not only by the honesty of her writing but also the empowering words she speaks to clergy parents to care for their children while they too navigate the complexities of ministry. The original article is here if you would like to read it.
Clergy kids have a unique perspective on life. "They are fortunate to be exposed to some of the greatest riches under heaven as well as the deepest pain on earth...they often find themselves caught in a vise between their parents' expectations and those of the church members. As a result, clergy kids are set up to fail."