Education & Training

Canda, E.R., Ketchell, A., Dybicz, P., Pyles, L., Nelson-Becker, H. (2006). Health through faith and community: A study resource for Christian faith communities to promote personal and social well-being. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Pastoral Press. The book is designed as an instructor resource, containing handouts and overheads for use in presenting the class. Class participants do not need individual copies of the curriculum book. To access supplemental materials and resources to be used in conjunction with the curriculum book, follow this link: Health Faith Study

Canda, E.R. (2007). Spiritually as source of resilience in living with chronic illness. (pdf) St. John of God National Hospital, Social Work Department. San Jose, Costa Rica. The presentation slides are in both English AND Spanish.

Palliative Care Consulting Team & Canda, H. J. (2014).  Engaging spirituality in social work for palliative care and hospice: Conversations about comfort, support, and quality of life. (pdf) Presented by Hwi-Ja Canda.

Essays on Religion and Health

Canda, E.R. (Ed.).(2005). Religious Views on Personal and Social Health. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.

Introduction and some background on these essays

Although recognition of the association between religion and health is currently growing in popularity, this connection actually has always been embedded in the major religious perspectives of the world. For example, God is sometimes described as the Great Physician, shamans are community-based healers, and meditation and yoga practices are ways to actualize the union of mind, body, and world. When we learn from the stories, symbolism, and theology of a variety of religious traditions as they relate to individual and community health, we are better able to understand spiritual resources for health and well-being. Numerous studies have emerged in recent years that reveal how individuals use spirituality for resilient response to illness and how spirituality and religion can improve health-related outcomes. There is also a small body of literature that combs religious texts and writings for health-related wisdom. The essays found below summarize some of these insights through introductions to a variety of religious traditions.

Please note that these essays are only brief introductions intended to pique readers' interest to explore further. They do not provide comprehensive coverage of relationships between spirituality and health within the traditions discussed. In addition, we are not promoting any particular worldview or theology, but rather wish to pay respect to insights about health and well-being conveyed throughout religious traditions. We also recognize that there can be controversies and conflicts within and between various religious groups. And sometimes, most regrettably, religious ideas are used to rationalize violence, war, and injustice. However, we believe that is all the more reason to encourage the potentials for healing, helping, and cooperation available through the world's religions.

In respect for religious diversity, we begin with an essay introducing ideas from a diverse sample of several world religions: Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and Shamanism. This essay offers a brief account of ideas in each religious tradition regarding physical, mental, social, and spiritual aspects of health. Links are provided to internet websites for more information. The Gallery of Spiritual Diversity provides more insights about these and some other religions and spiritual themes.

The remainder of the essays focus on Christian views of health and well-being, since most Americans have Christian affiliations and Christianity is one of the most widespread religions in the world. The second essay covers views of health and healing as expressed in Christian New Testament writings. By employing a literary and historical approach, this essay provides readers with a succinct introduction to Jesus' healing ministry and other biblical accounts of the spirituality and health connection. Roman Catholic views of personal and social health are discussed in the subsequent essay. As this church has the longest history, it is covered first, setting a context for discussions of Protestant Christian denominations. This piece offers a small glimpse into the multiple permutations of the spirituality and health relationship as expressed in the ancient, medieval, and modern periods. The fourth paper examines a sample of Protestant denominations that identify themselves as "mainline," with special focus upon American understandings of personal and social health. Finally, as this website emerged from the Health through Faith and Community Project, supported by the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund of Hutchinson, Kansas, the concluding essay presents some United Methodist understandings of health.

World Religious Views of Personal and Social Health (pdf)
By Aaron Ketchell, Loretta Pyles, and Edward R. Canda

Health and Healing in the New Testament (pdf)
By Kris D'Atri

Roman Catholic Views of Personal and Social Health (pdf)
By Aaron Ketchell

Mainline Protestant Views of Personal and Social Health (pdf)
By Aaron Ketchell

Methodist Views of Personal and Social Health (pdf)
By Phillip Dybicz and Aaron Ketchell


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