October 2011

All About the Benjamins

As of this month, my husband will no longer be bringing home the benjamins. Or rather, he’s bringing the ultimate Benjamin home: himself. Ben resigned his position as a case manager at a nonprofit organization so that he can once again spend a season as a stay-at-home father. His last day of work is my last day of maternity leave.

Benandgirls

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October 2011

BEST OF: Published in Most Columns

Editor's Note: At the recent annual board meeting of the Editorial Board, our editors decided that we would no longer publish the column Christ & Creativity in order to make way for a new column featuring the voices of young women along the way to ordination. Until the advent of this new column, we will publish our best columns over the four years of Fidelia's Sisters.

Our board members are passionate about our TYCWP community. Their names appear in many of the bylines of the articles published on Fidelia's Sisters. While we reserve second place for Amy Summers-Minette who has published in three of our columns, Joanna Harader takes the cake. Joanna has published articles in Called & Sent, Christ & Creativity, Divine Details and more than one column in Moms in Ministry. This gives our editors a lot to choose from in picking which article to publish but we decided to use the beautiful hymn that Joanna shared in June 2010 in The Body of Christ: A New Hymn in Sunday Morning & Beyond.

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October 2011

For Better Or For Worse

Editor's Note: This article is one in an occasional series called "All About the Benjamins," running this fall on Fidelia's Sisters. As many congregations and organizations are running stewardship campaigns and lining up budgets for 2012, we'll be taking a look at the sometimes-taboo topic of money, and the role it plays in our ministries.  This is the first of a series of articles by this author, reflecting on how she and her husband have navigated the variety of financial situations they have encountered during her ministry.  The next article, "In Sickness and In Health," will be published in the November edition of The Ones We Love.

“Mawwage, that bwessed awwangement, that dweam within a dweam…”  The Princess Bride is one of my husband and my favorite movies.  Eric and I have seen it so many times that we can speak the characters’ lines with them, and we laugh preemptively.  We know well what is coming, and yet we find it hilarious anyway, again.  One of the sure-fire mutual crack-up scenes for us is Buttercup and Humperdink’s wedding.  Peter Cook, the actor who portrays the unnamed clergyman, does an outstanding job with the juxtaposition of looking and behaving pontificate and sounding completely ridiculous.  Conceivably it may be a woman thing, but every now and then I take sensuous pleasure in these shared moments with Eric.  I’ll be suddenly aware of our connection, our commonalities and ways in which we compliment one another while we’re laughing synchronously; and I relish in our “bwessed awwangement,” thanking God for my “dweam within a dweam” of being married to my soul mate.  

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October 2011

A Child's Generous Gift

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Editor's Note: This article is one in an occasional series called "All About the Benjamins," running this fall on Fidelia's Sisters. As many congregations and organizations are running stewardship campaigns and lining up budgets for 2012, we'll be taking a look at the sometimes-taboo topic of money, and the role it plays in our ministries.

 First, I have a confession to make - I am uncomfortable talking about money.  One of the things that I dreaded about going into the ministry was knowing that one day I would have to preach on stewardship.  Those Sundays always come around once a year and there is hardly any way to get out of it.

I know the importance of ministers challenging their congregations and I know how vital stewardship campaigns are.  While money is just “paper”, it has theological implications and it impacts our faith life in more ways than I think we will ever understand.

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October 2011

Not Called and Unsent?

Editor's Note:This article is one in an occasional series called "All About the Benjamins," running this fall on Fidelia's Sisters. As many congregations and organizations are running stewardship campaigns and lining up budgets for 2012, we'll be taking a look at the sometimes-taboo topic of money, and the roles it plays in our ministries.

Dear Sisters,


I realize that the occasion for my letter places me in great danger of being labeled with some of the least honorable epithets of our age: a whiner, a free-loader, and the most hurtful of all, lazy.  But it is a truth that I cannot escape.  I am unemployed.  And though my husband isn’t (and yes, I realize that having a partner gives security that my single friends, and especially single-parent friends, do not have), I am dragging my family down this lonely path toward insolvency, despite my best efforts to prevent it. 

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October 2011

Blessed Be the Tentmakers

Editor's Note:This article is one in an occasional series called "All About the Benjamins," running this fall on Fidelia's Sisters. As many congregations and organizations are running stewardship campaigns and lining up budgets for 2012, we'll be taking a look at the sometimes-taboo topic of money, and the roles it plays in our ministries.

BedouintentflickrmartyworldI haven’t had a boyfriend in a very, very long time. Or even a good date.This long stretch of singlehood has made me identify more closely with the women in the Bible who are dealing with their barrenness. Not the literal lack of children in my womb, but the inability to form the family I long for, to fall in love and find a partner to share my life with. Like many of those Biblical women, I sometimes wonder what I have done wrong to earn this fate – what deficiencies keep me from experiencing what seems to come naturally to so many other women? I wonder,like Sarah, if after so many years I will ever get to experience the pleasure I dream about. I struggle, like many of the barren women of the scriptures, with how to define my worth as a woman in ways that don’t fit with society’s expectations.

Two scriptures, in particular, have stuck with me recently, and led me to sit with the ideas of barrenness and hospitality, and how they relate to my life as a single woman. “Sing, O barren one who did not bear,” urges Isaiah 54, “burst into song and shout, you who have not been in labor.” Sometimes the hardest thing is keeping hope, after a string of uninspiring dates, that there is someone out there I can connect with. Isaiah urges not just hope, promises not only joy, but reminds me to LIVE like I believe in the promises these verses contain. “Enlarge the site of your tent,” instructs the prophet. Make your home, your heart, your world big enough to hold all that you dream will happen. Make room for the people you want in your life.

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October 2011

Equal Work for Equal Pay?

Editor's Note:  This article is one in an occasional series called "All About the Benjamins," running this fall on Fidelia's Sisters. As many congregations and organizations are running stewardship campaigns and lining up budgets for 2012, we'll be taking a look at the sometimes-taboo topic of money, and the role it plays in our ministries. 


I held the paper with disdain. Presbyterians had an annual report that came out, detailing the salaries of every pastor in the area. My spirit plummeted when I saw the figures. I noticed how the guy that just graduated from seminary was making 20K more than I was, even though I had five years of experience. I realized how, across the board, women were paid less than men.

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October 2011

Changing the Conversation: Resources for Talking Money

Editor's Note:  This article is one in an occasional series called "All About the Benjamins," running this fall on Fidelia's Sisters. As many congregations and organizations are running stewardship campaigns and lining up budgets for 2012, we'll be taking a look at the sometimes-taboo topic of money, and the role it plays in our ministries. 

Lewis Center Giving It happens. I don’t want to make excuses about it – but you know that it’s happened to you too. You go to a continuing education event, you take superb notes, you nod in vigorous affirmation, you wonder why you couldn’t bring the biggest nay-sayer in your ministry to sit in the corner.  And then you get home. You have to wade through all of that email, return all of those phone calls and prepare for the funeral of the beloved church member who died while you were away. There is no way that you were going to recapture that energy. Not this week. All those great resources gather dust.

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