Symposium Held on the Spiritual Care for Pastors and Their Families

The Kyodan Subcommittee on Dealing with Handicapping Conditions sponsored its 4th National Symposium, Sept. 2-3. It was held at “Toyama Sunrise” National Welfare Center for Persons with Handicapping Conditions, in Shinjuku, at which 35 people from 14 Kyodan districts were present. The theme was “Spiritual Care for Pastors and Their Families,” with Professor Fujikake Akira from Seigakuin University Graduate School as the main speaker.

 

On the first day, the theme of the lecture was “Stress and the Mental Health of Pastors.” Research on pastoral stress has revealed that such areas as power struggles among pastors and/or laity, the degeneration that comes from the care of laity, and personal and family problems of pastors are mentioned as some of the major causes of burnout. Pastors have an innate sense of their role as enabler/helper and tend to act as if there is no area where they cannot function as such. How can we solve this dilemma and integrate what can and cannot be done by pastors? The importance of diversion and frank dialogue as the means of self-observation (among pastors) and the revelation of SOS signs were discussed. The evening group discussions were used as an opportunity for participants to share insights from the earlier lecture, as well as to discuss freely the issues they face.

 

The theme for the second day was “The Church and Personality Disorders.” We learned about the handicapping conditions of narcissistic behavior and a lack of boundary awareness, both of which are growing problems in our churches. There is an increased awareness of personality disorders, but even among the experts, addressing the problem is still an area of research. How to deal with this in our churches is an ongoing task. We cannot deny that the special environment of the church presents a complementing factor to this problem. However, as our understanding of these handicapping conditions deepens, we can circumvent some of the dangers that are presented. Though this is not a condition that can be dealt with easily or at once, we were told that it is important that we continue to confront it.

 

In recent years, the problem of communication with churches has resulted in pain and illness for pastors and their families, as well as depression, embarrassment, and even suicide. This problem continues today. With no mechanism within the Kyodan to address this issue, the situation is worsening. The theme of this year’s symposium was born out of the need to develop a means of preventing the isolation of pastors and individual churches dealing with this problem. (Tr. JS)

 

—Uetake Yuko, pastor

Iwaki Church, Tohoku District

From Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4807

「障がい」を考える小委員会(Subcommittee on Dearling With Headicapping Conditions)が主催する第4回全国交流会が、9月2~3日、新宿・戸山サンライズにおいて開催された。今回 は、「牧会者ならびにその家族の精神的なケアを考える」交流会として、講師に藤掛明(Fujikake Akira)先生(聖学院大学大学院Seigakuin University Graduate School)を迎えた。牧会者とその家族を中心に14教区35名が出席した。

1日目には、「牧会者のストレスとメンタルヘルス」をテーマとする講演であった。牧師のストレ ス研究では、教職同士や信徒とのパワー争い、信徒へのサービスによる消耗、自己や家族の問題等がバーンアウトの要因の上位を占めること等 が紹介された。牧会者は、援助者役割が身に染みており、自らに影の世界が無いかのごとく振る舞う。いかに援助者役割を解き、光と影を統合 していくか。「SOSサイン」や素の自分に向き合うための「気晴らし行動」、「語り合うこと」の重要性について話された。夕べの分団は、 講演内容を分かち合い、それぞれの課題が自由に語られる場となった。

2日目は「教会とパーソナリティ障がいをテーマとした。教会でトラブルが増えている、境界性/ 自己愛性パーソナリティ障がいについて学んだ。パーソナリティ障がいの認知は進んでいるが、対処法については専門家の間でも研究途上にあ り、教会がどう対応するかは、これからの課題となる。教会特有の環境が、問題を難しくしてしまう面も否定できない。それでも、障がいにつ いての理解が深まれば、危険を回避することができる。状況を一変させることではなく、状況に「細く長く向き合い続けることが大切であると述べられた。

近年、教会とのコミュニケーションの問題で、牧会者やその家族が病み、うつや不祥事、自ら命を 絶つ事態が後を絶たない。教団の中に対応できる窓口がないまま、課題は深刻化している。牧会者や各個教会が孤立しないための手立てを考え ていく中に、今回の全国交流会の場が生まれた。弱さを自覚し、解決の見えない課題に失望せず、「細く長く」取り組んでいくことが求められ ている。(上竹裕子報)新報4807号より