Improving Clergy Health, Step by Step


Dear Friends,

Welcome to Drew Theological School’s Center for Clergy and Congregational Health & Wholeness. The Center was created through a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to address issues of clergy and congregational health and wholeness.

As you may know, since the 1950’s clergy health has been on the decline. Studies during that time showed that clergy were among the healthiest and longest lived of all the professions. Later research in the 1980’s and 1990’s showed that clergy had become among the least healthy of all of the professions. Today’s research shows that this trend has continued and even gotten worse.

Rates of heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity in clergy far exceed those in benchmark populations in several denominations. My own research on these issues over the past six years has led me to conclude that the church of Jesus Christ is confronted not with a denominational problem, but instead with a vocational problem.

There are multiple reasons for the dramatic decline in clergy health. The Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness will address these reasons and offer resources to the church to help clergy live healthier lives. This website is a tool available for you to read current research, talk with others in ministry who are endeavoring to live in a more whole and healthy way, and hear about resources to use in your own setting.  We will also post announcements of conferences at Drew with links to other organizations working on these issues.

The goal of the Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness (CCHW) is to promote a greater understanding of the issues and the impact of poor clergy health on the clergy and their families themselves and on the congregations and other ministry settings they serve. Through this greater understanding we hope to help clergy and laity to commit themselves to developing and/or maintaining health habits in mind, body and spirit. The health of the missioner is dramatically related to the health of the mission.

I welcome your feedback on this site, your questions about our programs and your involvement in Drew’s effort to promote greater health in the church of Jesus Christ. You can reach me at or 973-408-3418.

Blessings to you as you continue on the journey to greater and greater health.


Virginia A. Samuel

Associate Dean for Contextual Learning and

Director, Center for Clergy and Congregational Health and Wholeness at Drew Theological School