Editor's note: In September of this year, Moms in Ministry editor Alex Hendrickson traveled to Ethiopia with Susan Olson, the founder of the Young Clergy Women Project. On this trip, Susan met and finalized the adoption of her daughter. For the second anniversary of Fidelia's Sisters, it seemed that sharing the story of the birth of a new family seemed most appropriate.
We got into the Addis Ababa Airport at about 11:30 am. Customs, security, and the ride to our guest home are all a blur to me. We checked into the guest home, brought our bags up to our room and called my attorney, Ato T. He agreed that we would come to the orphanage at 4 p.m. (after naptime, for those not in the toddler set). There was some confusion about how we were to arrive, but once that was resolved, we were on our way.
In worship, be careful what you ask for. Because you just might get it.
I suppose there are a few ministers out there who have the kind of artsy, game-for-anything congregations that immediately warm to any kind of creative, interactive moment in worship. You know who you are! But most of us, when we plan and organize some sort of alternative, hands-on worship moment, have to say an extra prayer to the Spirit, "Oh, please please please, let them go for this. I think it's cool. Let them think it's cool, too."
There's this guy, a member of a church. He’s not fictional. He’s real. He makes my friend cry in her office after he's made her feel less than human.
It happened like this: he came into her office. To me, her friend, it sounds like he barged into her office and then declared, "Did you know you don't like people?" This very real church member went on to explain to my friend that she played favorites. He rejected her shyness and then made her cry. Really, who wouldn’t cry? No one in the life of the church had approached her about this. Instead, he took it upon himself to tell her that "all these people" have a problem with her. Moreover, she apparently had a problem with them. He stood there, watched my friend cry, and expressed his compassion by saying, "You'll get thicker skin as you get older."
A few days ago, Sarah posted our first Fidelia's Sisters 2nd anniversary giveaway; have you commented yet for a chance to win a $50 Chalice Press gift certificate? If not, hop to it, and come back here right away to learn about our second big giveaway!
Are you back yet? Good. Keep reading.
Anna Gordy Montgomery, the talented (and theologically-educated) stole maker behind Gloria Vestments, has offered to give a handmade stole in the color of the winner's choice - red, green, or purple. All you have to do is post a comment here sharing one of the things you love about ministry. Please note that the giveaway is only open to members of the Young Clergywomen Project; if you're not a member yet, now is the time to apply! Comments will be closed on October 31st, when a winner will be selected randomly.
“Every generous act of giving with every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father.” James 1:17
Two days after my ordination, I boarded a plane for South Africa in order to begin a period of service at a Presbyterian church in a township outside of Cape Town. Looking back on that time, I am still shocked that I thought my first experience in ministry should be in a culture and place so different from my own. Yet, the tremendous growing pains I endured have proven to be both fruitful and life-giving to me as a minister and disciple of the gospel.
I have sought to articulate my experience here, but I have come gravely short. To describe the immense beauty and tragedy, to properly impart the sacredness of ministry anywhere, but in particular in this place, is to attempt the impossible. After almost a year, I am surprised by how hard it is at times to minister as an outsider, and at the same time, how comfortable I feel sitting in a shack, laughing or praying with someone from a vastly different background and yet who I consider friend. In both my uncertainty and also in my confidence, God’s grace has been sufficient.
Clint Eastwood has done it again. Like fine wine, over time he seems to become more compelling with films like Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima, Changeling, and lately, Gran Torino. It is amazing he has been doing movies since the 1950’s and yet, he still remains provocative and interesting, particularly in the social issues he engages in his newest movie, the Gran Torino. In this film, Eastwood appears as Walt Kowalski -- a gruff, bitter Korean War veteran who is alienated from his family. He's also recently widowed. Being clergy, my interest always piques a bit more when there is a clergy character in a film.
Watch out, world; Fidelia’s Sisters is entering its terrible twos! We trust the year ahead will not involve too many temper tantrums—though the occasional spirited argument in the comments section of an article is always welcomed.
In the last year, we said goodbye to Kate Smanik Moyes, our assistant editor whose job change and new responsibilities demanded her attention. We welcomed Lara Blackwood Pickrel, our new editor for the Divine Details column.
We thank all of you who wrote for and read the e-zine in the last year. We editors are continually impressed by the quality of submissions and the interesting conversations that happen in our comments section and about articles on the Young Clergy Women Community Ning! boards.
The editors of each section have chosen their favorite articles from the last year, which represent the breadth and width of the experiences of our community.
Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with technology.
My Samsung BlackJack II is never far from my grasp and my laptop is one of my best friends. Both enable me to work just as easily from my office as from my front porch (or more likely, the closest Panera). Deepening my love for these instant means of connection is that I've lived in numerous states and even more cities, and so my circle of friends and family extends much further than the boundaries of metro Louisville. I'm glad my daughter can Skype with Tia in California, thankful I can reach out to faraway lifelong friends at a moment's notice, and grateful that when the youth I am privileged to work with need to ask a difficult question, texting gives them a way to do so without the potential awkwardness of a face-to-face conversation.
That's all the love part. Now here's the hate part...