Sabbath Living Evaluation



  • Blessed Earth

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Sabbath Living Evaluation

Sabbath Living is an intervention designed to teach and encourage United Methodist clergy in North Carolina to set apart one day a week for spiritual and recreational activities. The intervention consists of workshops of varying lengths which may be attended multiple times; written materials; and optional participation in a network of clergy who encourage Sabbath-keeping through regular joint prayer. While keeping Sabbath is a religious practice that people may want to engage in regardless of health benefit, an open research question is whether keeping Sabbath affects mental health. In this evaluation, we will compare the positive mental health and spiritual well-being outcomes (primary outcomes), as well as depression and anxiety outcomes (secondary outcomes) between two groups of clergy: 1) clergy who attend a Sabbath Living workshop and proceed to engage in Sabbath-keeping, versus 2) clergy who attend a Sabbath Living workshop and do not go on to engage in Sabbath-keeping. In addition to these outcomes, the explanatory pathway of social support will be examined. In the first year, we will conduct qualitative interviews with 30 clergy at 6 and 12 months post-workshop to understand barriers to, and facilitators of, Sabbath-keeping, as well as perceived changes in mental and spiritual well-being. Across four years, we will conduct surveys at the time of the workshop plus 3 and 9 months post-workshop with an anticipated 750 clergy.

Future policy implications of this study include how busy caregivers are able to set a day and whether or not it is advisable to recommend keeping Sabbath not just because it is one of ten commandments in the Bible, but because it is beneficial for positive mental health.

Last updated on September 25, 2023