Count your stresses, name them one by one

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experience any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years.

ach event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill.

To the outsider it would appear that Mother Church conspires to heap as many of these stress inducing factors as possible onto the shoulders of the newly ordained. It begins in late April or early May with the mad dash to complete and submit those final assignments and the end of year report (26). Those who go into full time ministry having trained part time have to cope with the change to a different line of work (36), though perhaps after 2-3 years at theological college it could be called a change in responsibilities at work (a mere 29). Embarking on stipendiary ministry could also result in a change in financial state which depending on your starting point may be a nasty shock or a pleasant surprise (38). For those ordinands who are returning to their sending diocese or relocating to a new one there is the strain of moving house (20) which may impact on your spouse’s employment (26) and children’s schooling (26 per child). For those who serve their title in their sending parish there is the stress of a change in church role (19), working hours or conditions (20) and possibly a change in social activities (18) as adjustments to new responsibilities are made.

Back in 1967 Holmes and Rahe didn’t have to assess the additional stress of temporary lack of internet (10 – multiplied by the number of devices in the household) or dealing with utility companies (another 10). No wonder ordinands prepare for the big day with a silent retreat (extroverts add 50!).

No one who witnessed the joy on the faces of the newly ordained will doubt that it should be considered an outstanding personal achievement but did you know that carries a LCU weighting of 28? The post-ordination party carries its own stresses involving family reunions (15) but hopefully no trouble with boss (23).

Here at Churches Mutual we recognise the stresses the newly ordained are under, and that’s before you realise various appliances have not survived the move, your lap top has collapsed under the strain of your dissertation or you will never negotiate your way round your parish/es without a reliable car which is why we aim to make borrowing from us and smooth and carefree as possible. As one satisfied customer told us recently: “I had a wonderful experience dealing with Churches Mutual Credit Union. They were informative, helpful and very efficient. Not a stressful moment in sight. Thank you!