Special thanks to managing editor Ann Bonner-Stewart, who brought to our attention this poem, which illustrates the power of words and the ways that words interact with one another in different contexts.
Do you have some words or images to share? Send them along! See our submission guidelines for more.
I asked some pastor friends, “Looking back on your career, what would you do different?”
And one answered, “I would have never been a pastor. If I knew what kind of toll the pastorate was going to have on my sons, I would have never gotten into the job.”
“Really? Then, what would you have become?”
“Anything. A secretary in a law firm. Anything other than this, really.”
In the spirit of those wonderful "gift of the month clubs", we offer a year's worth of prayers by Maria Bergius Krämer. She introduces these prayers with some description of the tradition of New Years' worship in her congregation.
I am a fairly new pastor, and I live in the same parsonage my bishop lived in when she was a new pastor. It's located in a small town, on a street where the same people have lived for decades.
This means that as I interviewed, the bishop wasn't just curious to see if I would be a good fit for this particular parish. She was also crossing her fingers that I would be a good fit for the neighbors.
When I got anxious writing my ordination paper, it was John who rubbed my shoulders. Outlining your story of call, understanding of polity, history, ordained ministry along with a concise "theology of everything," in 30 pages or so is clearly a daunting task, and those times when the spaces between the words were filled with self-doubt, John rubbed my shoulders. He would stand behind me as I did my work, and loosen those knots in my back with strong hands. I don't even remember asking him, but as I wrote, I could feel his warmth behind me, smoothing out my sentences as I found my call and connecting to my understanding. I felt behind me, with warm hands and smooth strokes, his quiet belief that yes, I was called to this work.
John is not my husband. John is my boyfriend.
I think about leaving ministry when the liturgist is being passive-aggressive.
I think about leaving ministry when worship attendance is down.
I think about leaving ministry when I can’t afford music classes for my kids.
I think about leaving ministry when another Christmas Eve goes by without seeing my family.
I think about leaving ministry when the church feels irrelevant.
I think about leaving ministry when my sermon sucks.
I think about leaving ministry when the repairs to the manse never happen.
I think about leaving ministry when God seems light years away.
I think about leaving ministry when vestry meetings haunt my dreams.
I think about leaving ministry when I can’t bear to hear another colleague complain about her parish.
But I haven’t left yet. And sometimes I think I never will.
We are people of the book. This is no epiphany - great or small.
Whether we offer chapter and verse to prove our point, sing the psalms or seek comfort in Jesus’ words, we are women that center our lives on text. On Epiphany, we celebrate the books that have offered us strength in the past year. Some of these books fed our ministry. Some called us to justice and others just provided an escape into the world of words.
How has The Young Clergy Women Project changed your life? (That would be the organization behind Fidelia's Sisters.) This is your chance to tell the world by participating in our New Catchphrase Contest. Simply get your creative juices flowing and come up with a slogan that sums up what TYCWP is all about. Previously we've used "funded by the Louisville Institute and powered by faith, verve, chocolate, and really great shoes."
Since our grant has ended, now is a great time to dream up a whole new phrase that captures who we are and what we do. If you are a member of The Young Clergy Women Project, please send your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 31 or look for the threads to post your ideas on our NING site and our protected blog. You'll get the chance to vote on the top submissions in February.
If you are not a member of The Young Clergy Women Project, and are interested in joining, please click on "The Young Clergy Women Project" at the top of this page to find out more! We are always looking for new members. It's a great opportunity to be more connected in the new year.
Are you thinking about a new call this New Year? 2008 was a year of interviewing for me as I searched for my new call. Part of the process, of course, involved the dreaded telephone interview. These phone interviews can be very intimidating and uncomfortable, but I have found that there are ways to feel more comfortable and confident in a phone interview- and it all comes down to preparation. Perhaps these tips may be helpful to you.