Depression in African American Clergy

  • Wynnetta Wimberley

Part of the Black Religion/Womanist Thought/Social Justice book series (BRWT)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Part One

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Wynnetta Wimberley
      Pages 3-11
    3. Wynnetta Wimberley
      Pages 13-19
  3. Part Two

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 21-21
    2. Wynnetta Wimberley
      Pages 23-48
    3. Wynnetta Wimberley
      Pages 49-78
  4. Part Three

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-79
    2. Wynnetta Wimberley
      Pages 81-90
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 103-120

About this book


In this book Wynnetta Wimberley addresses the often overlooked crisis of depression in African American clergy, investigating the causes underlying this phenomenon while discussing possible productive paths forward. Historically, many African American pastors have had to assume multiple roles in order to meet the needs of congregants impacted by societal oppression. Due to the monumental significance of the preacher in the African American religious tradition, there exists a type of ‘cultural sacramentalization’ of the Black preacher, which sets clergy up for failure by fostering isolation, highly internalized and external expectations, and a loss of self-awareness. Utilizing Donald Winnicott’s theory of the ‘true’ and ‘false’ self, Wimberley examines how depression can emerge from this psycho-socio-theological conflict.  When pastors are depressed, they are more prone to encounter difficulties in their personal and professional relationships. Drawing from a communal-contextual model of pastoral theology, this text offers a therapeutically sensitive response to African American clergy suffering with depression. 


African American clergy Depression Cultural stigmatization Historical trauma Dysthymia Stress Collective memory Slavocracy Black theology Theology Womanism Pastoral psychotherapy Intra-communal oppression Cultural sacramentalization

Authors and affiliations

  • Wynnetta Wimberley
    • 1
  1. 1.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA

Bibliographic information