How Congregations Respond to the Sick
Baylor University Press, Paperback, 9781932792874, 241pp.
Publication Date: August 1, 2009
Skilled pastoral caregiving, Susan Dunlap argues, requires an understanding of the culture of the local congregation where it is practiced. An engaging example par excellence, "Caring Cultures" looks closely at three very different congregations' responses to the body in times of illness: an African American congregation in the Apostolic Holiness tradition; a Euro-American mainstream Protestant church; and the Latino members in a Roman Catholic parish.
With vivid examples drawn from the author's interviews and observations, this beautifully written book shows how each congregation has developed divergent ways of thinking about the body, habits of responding to it, and understandings of God's response to the body's pain or peril. The author offers unusually rich descriptions of care-giving as it is displayed in these three congregations, integrating both well-explained theory and moving personal stories.