Congregational Social Work Initiative

Virtually every congregation has four purposes for what they do:

• worship,
• community,
• education, and
• missions

Congregational social workers provide leadership in more than one, and sometimes all, of these purposes. In fact, the broader their work is in addressing all four purposes of congregational life, the more central they are to the life of the congregation. While some of these purposes are outside of the church walls, all four work together to create a healthy and impactful congregation.

Our desire is to train students to conduct congregational research, develop full-time congregational staff positions and strengthen community transformation initiatives in their communities. We raise awareness of the resource that social workers can be for strengthening congregations and their ministries. We also are an interdisciplinary group learning from scholars from all academic backgrounds on how to best serve congregants and congregations.

In addition to the Congregational Initiative, the Garland School of Social Work also works with congregations through the Center for Church and Community Impact or C3I. The Center provides research and hands-on training to congregations, denominational agencies and religiously affiliated organizations that bridge the divide between church and community.

For more information about this initiative, contact:
Dr. Gaynor Yancey
(254) 710-6424

Read about congregational social work from current students, alum, and current faculty and staff: 


Texas: Social Workers can refuse services to LGBTQ, Disabled By: Erin Albin Hill 


Congregations and social work: Moving into the unexpected By: Julianna Marraccino

From disorientation to reorientation: Turning forced isolation into Sabbath experiences By: Julia Wallace

Local coalitions need congregations: A call to action By: Rachel Gillespie 

Seeing the unexpected: Connected congregations and social work By: Julianna Marraccino 

Social Distancing as an act of sacred mercy By: Erin Albin Hill

Race Relations

After MLK Day and Black History Month, now what? By: Julianna Marraccino

Spiritual Formation

Bigger: The sanctuary of nature and the presence of God. 

Discovering your community through the practice of the labyrinth By: Rachel Gillespie

Love your neighbors but don't forget God and yourself By: Jackie Murphy

Naked and Ashamed: American Christianity's purity culture and embodiment in the Church By: Alice Fry

Spiritual Formation: One Season at a Time By: Dr. Gaynor Yancey

Where is Home for You? By: Dr. Gaynor Yancey


Grief, the holidays, and the Church By: Julia Wallace

Spiritual Care and First Responders: Why Bother? By: Heath Holland

Spiritual Trauma and Congregations: A Missing Link By: Jess Gregory

What Collective Trauma Teaches Congregations By: Erin Albin Hill

Why All Congregational Ministry Should be Trauma Ministry By: Erin Albin Hill