Clergy Self-Care for Cross-Racially/Cross-Culturally Appointed Pastors in the United Methodist Church

Sukja Bang, Fordham University


Cross-racial and cross-cultural appointment is one of the efforts made by The United Methodist Church (UMC) to remain relevant to the ever-changing communities surrounding churches which have become increasingly multiracial and multicultural. At the denominational level, the UMC has been making efforts to be an inclusive church. However, many cross-racially/cross-culturally appointed pastors (CR/CC pastors) often experience a huge gap between our denominational vision to be inclusive and the practice of local churches to carry out that vision. A majority of CR/CC pastors experience overt and covert racism within the church, which has a harmful impact on their emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The church does not always recognize or identify the fact that racism is alive within the church and that it perniciously affects the life of the church and the lives of those who serve in ministry. The lived experience of CR/CC pastors will be the starting point of my theological reflection and social analysis, by which I offer praxis (action in reflection) for holistic self-care strategies. As such, the thesis, by way of the pastoral circle method, aims to help CR/CC pastors be aware of their environment (their ministerial setting) where stress occurs, to strategize ways to prevent burnout, and to maintain positive mental health throughout the process of stress appraisal. By focusing on positive emotions, resources and skills, and social network for support, they will learn how to cope more effectively with stress. Although prevention is better and an easier strategy than cure, this thesis also applies to the healing of those who have already fallen prey to burnout, with its close link to mental health.

Subject Area

Theology|Pastoral Counseling|Occupational psychology|Clinical psychology|Clergy

Recommended Citation

Bang, Sukja, "Clergy Self-Care for Cross-Racially/Cross-Culturally Appointed Pastors in the United Methodist Church" (2021). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28541944.