An exploration of the emotional demands made on clergy wives in the New Testament Church of God tradition in the UK
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AbstractIn the context of this research, a ‘clergy wife’ is defined as the wife of a clergyman. The role of clergy wives in the New Testament Church of God (NTCG) involves substantial emotional demands. Emotional demands are aspects of a job, or role, that require continual emotional effort. Clergy wives in the NTCG tradition offer congregants emotional support and spiritual guidance. Each clergy wife is one part of a two-person career in which the wife is inducted into her husband’s career, even though she is not employed in her own right by the organisation. Whilst the emotional demands and their impact on male clergy are welldocumented in research, almost no research has been conducted on the emotional demands made on clergy wives within the NTCG tradition in the UK, and on the support that they may need to enable them to conduct their role effectively and survive its impact emotionally. This qualitative study seeks to explore the lived experiences of wives whose husbands currently serve, or have served, as pastors in the NTCG, in order to identify their current support systems and discover what further support they may need. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants (n=14). The data were analysed using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The data reveal that wives experienced many emotional demands as a result of the implicit nature of the position of being a pastor’s wife. Emotional demands arose from: the role and difficulties; exposure to the personal suffering of others; and exposure to experiencing a high level of distress over a prolonged period. The research discusses the impact of emotional demands upon pastors’ wives and the necessity for developing a greater awareness of the needs of this group within the counselling, supervision and pastoral care community. Current support systems are discussed, and further support systems are recommended to enhance better pastoral care of pastors’ wives within the NTCG tradition in the UK.
CitationGardner, D. (2019). An exploration of the emotional demands made on clergy wives in the New Testament Church of God tradition in the UK (Doctoral dissertation). University of Chester, UK.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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