Holy Ghost Grab-Bag

Honest Testimony: A Review of Any Day A Beautiful Change

AnyDayABeautifulChangeIn a preaching class, I was once told that a number of historic pulpits have a verse from John 12 carved into them: “Sir, we would see Jesus.” This was meant as a reminder that, when you’re the preacher, it’s not about you. It’s about Jesus.

While I mostly agree with that idea, I also hold it in tension with the idea that ministry is incarnational. As pastors, we live out our faith in the community of our churches. Our presence as pastors is not just spiritual or intellectual. It is physical, as well: the sound of the voice; the handshake at the door; the gentle touch when visiting the sick. And sometimes, even the protrusion of a growing belly into your ministry.

This is where Katherine Willis Pershey’s book, Any Day A Beautiful Change, begins: the reality of being a pregnant pastor, a wife and a mother, alongside, and intertwined with her life in ministry.

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Come to Chicago!

When I entered ordained ministry over 3 years ago, there were days when I felt rather alone. As a single woman, I was living alone in a manse built for a family. Four bedrooms left me plenty of space to spread out and get creative (home office space to house my book addiction – sure! guest room so family and friends can come visit – of course! catch all room for dancing and being creative – cool!). All the space was a blessing, but there were also days when I rattled around in my own home.

I bounced around in my presbytery for a little bit too as I tried to find my footing and my niche. As I got to know the local Presbyterian pastors, I found great colleagues. I also discovered how drastically I changed the room just by walking into it. For example, the monthly pastors’ lunch gathering was formerly all ordained males over the age of 50. Enter a 20-something newly ordained female.

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A New Home for TYCWP

We are launching a new website.

Since our founding in 2007, TYCWP has called www.youngclergywomen.org our internet home. We started with the imagination of creating a space where young clergy women could theologically reflect about their ministry. We wanted to create a community of writers. We wanted to share our stories.

As an avid reader of Fidelia’s Sisters, you know that’s what you see on our home page. You see the masthead for our e-zine and the most recent articles written for young clergy women by young clergy women. If you’ve explored beyond this first page, you know there’s a page to find the names of our editors (and other board members), a page that outlines our submission guidelines and even a page that attempts to explain our organization.

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BEST OF: First Article By Our TYCWP First Published Author

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.

This month, we bring to you the first article published on Fidelia's Sisters in August 2008 by one of our members who also published the first Chalice Press book under the TYCWP imprint. After writing this article about her robeless identity, Stacy Smith began collaborating with Ashley-Anne Masters on the newly released book Bless Her Heart. We know this is only the first in a long line of wonderful books written by young clergy women. If you are interested in learning more about our imprint, click here.

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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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Best of: Most Comments

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.

This month, we bring to you the article that generated the most comments in the history of Fidelia's Sisters. Below the fold, Alex Hendrickson's Oh Mother, Where Art Thou? created a conversation of 25 comments. The only other columns to come close to this realm of conversation were Sarah Kinney Gaventa's What Not to Wear illustrating how a young clergy woman should wear a collar and our second anniverary stole giveaway where you had to comment to actually win the stole.Though it appears we seek to appear our best for God with 21 comments in both of these second runners up, that extra 4 comments in 2008 may reveal that we are mothers first. Or it may reveal that we don't want to be defined by the things that others might use to define us (kids, marital status, gender preference, ethnicity or the like). Instead we want to be known and understood fully simply by how we seek to serve God.

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Bless Her Heart: Because You're Not the Only One

Ashley-Anne Master and Stacy Smith's Bless Her Heart: Life as a Young Clergy Woman will be on the bedside table of every young clergy woman. Whether these women are seminarians, a local church pastors or a chaplains, these young leaders will turn to these pages because it truly is our story. In these nine short chapters, our story is told.

It's told as if a group of young clergy women are sitting around sipping wine -- including those stories that will raise our glasses and bring us all to tears. It offers that assurance that we offer to each other as young clergy women. Because you're not the only one. This has been the catchphrase that defines The Young Clergy Women Project. This book publishes what we already knew to be true and offers us each strength to look into the future of our own call.

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Get a Shot of Carbonation at Conference 2011

The opportunity to be part of the 2010 Young Clergy Women Project conference was such a joy.

I serve outside the local church setting; consequently, it’s easy for me to feel even more isolated in ministry then I did even as a younger single pastor serving my first pastorate at a small church in a rather rural setting. In my current appointment as a United Methodist clergy woman, I don't have consistent opportunities to be with my denominational clergy colleagues. Moreover, I've always loved ecumenical connections and conversations. 

This is why The Young Clergy Women Project and its conference – one of many expressions of the Project – feel so essential. Frankly, last year’s experience nourished me in ways I didn't quite expect.

I've been to other conferences. This isn't the same.

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The Network of The Young Clergy Women Project

Ycw lightThe Young Clergy Women Project is more than the articles that we offer on Fidelia's Sisters. We launched this e-zine as a means to tell our stories -- but more than these articles, we are a network of the youngest ordained clergy women.

We are always reaching out to each other to support each other through our calls to be servants of God, agents of change and sisters in Christ. However, this e-zine was not the origins of our journey. We truly began through an underground, password-protected blog where comments to particular prompts went on for pages. There were limitations to that mode of communication. We wanted more than it had to offer so we moved to NING.

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Follow the Events of Conference 2010

On Sunday June 27, 2010, members of The Young Clergy Women Project will gather for three days at the Candler School of Theology in Atlanta, Georgia for the Conference 2010: Leading as Ourselves: Discerning Models for Ministry. Together, we will learn from the wisdom of Rev. Melissa Clodfelter and Rev. Beth Kennett as well as build community as young clergy women. As the events unfold over these three days, you may be interested in what insights are being shared.

You might just wonder what in the world a bunch of young clergy women do when they get together. Well, we encourage you to follow our wonderings and wanderings through the various tools of social networking that you enjoy. We’ve asked a few women that will gather with us to blog, tweet and Facebook about their experiences and their insights; below the fold is more information.

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