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Title: Towards a covenantal kirk : heeding stories of clergy stress in the Church of Scotland
Author: Dunbar, Linda Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 9356 4090
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis explores the stories of Church of Scotland clergy who have suffered from work related stress during their parish ministries and their encounters with institutional and non-institutional supports. Chapter One traces the researcher’s ontological and epistemological standpoint as it is woven around life events from childhood to present day and how these have shaped this research. Chapter Two places the question of clergy stress within the recent field of research, noting the growing use of qualitative methods, the increased value placed upon hearing the voice of participants and expounding upon feminism’s standpoint theory as a key research methodology. The detailed methods employed in this study form the basis of Chapter Three. The following four chapters summarise themes and understandings of clergy stress as expressed by participants. Chapter Four identifies the commonly identified causes of stress for parish ministers, including training issues, changing ministerial roles, unrealistic demands, conflict within kirk sessions and the Presbytery Disciplinary Procedure. Chapter Five widens the focus to explore the physical, mental and spiritual manifestations of stress that ministers have experienced. Chapters Six and Seven shift the focus to sources of support for ministers. Chapter Six records a picture of institutional supports which are ineffective, untrusted and unwanted. Chapter Seven shows the positive and effective non-institutional supports provided by Pastoral Supervisors, Spiritual Directors and trusted friends within the local setting. Chapter Eight offers a summary and identifies the lack of covenantal relationships between the institutional church and its clergy. The thesis concludes in Chapter Nine with suggestions for the National Church, regional Presbyteries, local kirk sessions and clerics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.P.T.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: BL Religion ; BR Christianity ; BV Practical Theology