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.

International research suggests there are several main areas of concern that clergy families (including clergy themselves) face. These are:

a) Balance between home and work (especially when work occurs in the home)
b) Understanding church life and expectations (especially as it varies between individual churches) 
c) Receiving adequate, and compassionate support that suits the clergy family members' needs.

While these are not easy topics to look at, Australian research has only just touched the tip of the iceberg. There is very little we know about clergy families, which is why this study has been designed quite simply to begin getting answers to questions that will shape Australian initiatives and future research.

Our long term goal is to spark conversations and future studies so we can care for clergy families better. If you are interested in receiving results from the Clergy Family Study, or participating in future studies, you can register your interest here.

We have also set up a Facebook page where clergy family members (clergy, spouses and children) can meet/stay in touch and hear about results from studies like this. You can visit this page here.

*Study now closed* If you know any Australian clergy spouses or adult children, can I encourage you to forward this study link on? It will be available from October 16th, 2014 - 16th April, 2015. To be involved in future research opportunities, please email me directly at clergyfamiliesau@gmail.com.

Many thanks,
Rachel Stevens BAppSci(Health Prom) DipTh