by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – There is evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a shortage of clergy in a number of US Christian denominations, ADN America reports. While national data on the issue is limited, a high number of pastors resigned during the pandemic, leaving their churches without a leader.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, clergy who resigned during pandemic did so for reasons including exhaustion and fractured relationships with congregations due to lockdowns and other pandemic protocols, ADN said.
“Pastors are tired,” Laurie Jungling, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America bishop for Montana, told the Journal.
“They’re giving a lot of themselves to help folks deal with the trauma of the pandemic. They’ve had to face polarization in their own congregations, people’s anger and frustration about masks and vaccines, whether to have worship or not.” Ten percent of ECLA churches reportedly need a new pastor, Jungling added.
The Barna Group published a study last fall, showing that 38% of US pastors were seriously considering leaving full-time ministry, compared to 29% in January 2021. Moreover, half of these church leaders were under the age of 45, ADN reports.
Nevertheless, a decline in new clergy was evidenced in Christian denominations even before the pandemic, the Journal said. An increasingly secular society has resulted in fewer people training as clergy, and those who do qualify have greater flexibility in career options, such as working with religious non-profit organizations, ADN reports
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