Our family portrait: the church as a model of social support

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Liza Ngenye *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Liza Ngenye | lngenye@gmu.edu


The church means many things to many people. Some would describe it as a culture, network, organization, or family. The purpose of this study is to understand of the role of the church in providing social support to individual church members and to uncover meanings prescribed by individuals about the nature of social support in the church. I analyze the context in which church practices are embedded, the processes of creating social support, and the meanings of church-related activities and gatherings that contribute to social support. The study examines how the health-related needs of church members are not only physiological but also accounted for in emotional, psychological and social terms. By using metaphor as a framework for interpretation of members’ meanings, my analysis of social support is broadened to include religious contexts. This study adds to growing literature on the connection between religion, communication and health.

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