Christmas Season Takes its Toll on Pastors; Pastor Burnout Rises During the Holiday Season

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PastorCare offers hurting clergy help during stressful times

While members of their congregations are busy enjoying all of the events of the Christmas season, many church pastors suffer from stress and burnout. PastorCare, the national clergy support network, reports that the Christmas season is one of the most stressful times for clergy.

"While others are at home spending time with family and friends, shopping and celebrating the season, pastors are hard at work," said William Allen, National Director of PastorCare. "Christmas Eve services, Christmas Day services as well as an often increased load in pastoral counseling duties keep pastors away from their homes and family. Many are just not able to enjoy the holidays."

This can lead to stress, burnout and even resentment from members of pastors' families. Spouses and children often feel neglected when their clergy parent isn't there to enjoy the festivities of the season.

Studies show that 90% of pastors are working between 55 and 75 hours a week, and 45% report depression and burnout. PastorCare reports that 40% of the calls and inquiries it receives are from spouses of pastors who feel lonely and isolated. In the U.S an average of 1300 to 1500 pastors leave their ministry every month.

"The problem with many pastors and their families is that they have no one to confide in when this happens," said Allen. "They don't feel able to open up to members of their congregation, and unlike their parishioners, don't have a pastor to turn to."

PastorCare provides assistance that is safe and confidential for clergy and their families who are hurting. PastorCare recognizes that pastors are in special roles as caregivers while often needing help themselves.

"Especially during holidays such as Christmas and Easter, we find more and more pastors who just can't handle the stress," continued Allen. "Our job is to be that place to turn, just as others would turn to their pastor in stressful times."

About PastorCare Networks, Inc.

PastorCare is a National Clergy Support Network. The mission of PastorCare is to partner hurting pastor and their families with caregivers who share a common heart for helping hurting pastors and their families. It provides free assistance that is safe and confidential. Specific areas of assistance include prayer intercessor, medical and legal help and counseling. In addition to its national office in Raleigh, NC, PastorCare has regional offices in Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas, Illinois and Ohio. PastorCare is a 501(c)3 non-profit ministry. For more information, contact PastorCare at (919) 787-7024 or visit http://www.pastorcare.org.

Editors and producers: To arrange an interview with William Allen on pastor stress during the holidays, contact Graham Wilson at (919) 467-5567 or gwilson @ prstreet.com.

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GRAHAM WILSON
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