Religious congregations: An important vehicle for alleviating human suffering and fostering wellness

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In light of some concerning trends regarding social service delivery, this paper syntheses the emerging literature on religious congregations. After government, congregations are the most prominent providers of social services in the United States. Because the long-term viability of government human services is threatened by growing deficits and escalating social needs, congregations are likely to be an increasingly important vehicle for alleviating human suffering. Congregations also offer serval unique strengths. For example, they frequently assist underserved populations that more traditional secular providers may not reach, a practice that may help ameliorate health disparities. They also provide a forum in which entrepreneurial social enterprises can be incubated. This paper concludes by offering several suggestions to assist social workers and other helping professionals work with congregations to enhance client wellness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)119-137
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Congregations
  • human rights
  • religion
  • social services
  • spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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