The Pastoral is Political: Activism, Failure, and Jesus

Today, I want to tell you about the trip I took to the border a couple of months ago. Texas Impact sponsored a group of clergy to learn about the crisis on Texas’ southern border. We spent time learning about the nature of the crisis — causes and barriers to solutions. Then, we went across… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Pastoring the Church Matriarch

This week’s question for our RevGal Matriarchs is about a congregational matriarch. Dear Matriarchs: In my small, aging (worship around 60 people) PCUSA congregation there are basically 2 matriarchs. One of them is enlarging her territory and I’d like ideas on how to limit her. She is already clerk of the session, moderates mission committee,… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Showing Compassion While Respecting Pastoral Boundaries

There’s formal “Boundary Training” for pastors, and then there are the real-life boundary tests that pop up along the way. Here’s one: Dear Matriarchs, I’m pastoring a tiny church (as in 18 members). There’s a family who were very active and beloved before I came who have now moved away. Because of their love for… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Leading Worship in the Midst of Grief

One of our colleagues is facing a most difficult return to her pulpit Sunday. How does a pastor approach a worship service that meets her needs, her congregation’s and is faithful to the work of worship? Dear Women in Ministry, I am a second career, ordained for 6 years and in the same small church… Read More

Ask the Matriarch:What to tell (and not tell) the Search Committee

A pastoral search is an exercise in mutual vulnerability as pastor-to-be and her potential new congregation get to know one another. How much will each reveal to the other about the difficult things as they discern God’s call? Dear Matriarchs: I am in the search process (PCUSA), and anticipating interviews. I know that search committees… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Former Member Still Stirring the (Anger) Pot

After a member leaves the church, but continues to engage angrily with the pastor and the congregation . . . what’s a pastor to do? Dear Matriarchs: Several months ago a family left our church because they couldn’t see how our church’s commitments to LGBTQ+ inclusion is faithful to the gospel. We thought they had… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Our Favorite Ministry Resources

This week we ask the Matriarchs to give us some practical inspiration for our work as pastors. Dear Matriarchs, What are your best/favorite/essential go-to resources for ministry? Categories might include worship liturgy, sermon writing, programming, leader development, spiritual development (pastor and congregation) and congregational vitality. Let’s hear from our Matriarchs: Sharon Mack Temple I will… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Her Bifurcated Facebook Presence

This week’s question is about a pastor’s social media and also about the need to re-calibrate systems after we’ve been at this awhile. Here’s a pastor who is taking a new look at how to manage her social media presence: Dear Matriarchs: Let me stipulate that I don’t like Facebook, I don’t like how it… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: Our Transgender Children

“Sasha” (not her real name) has just finished the third grade. She began her school year with the name given her at birth, a name reflecting that she was originally gender identified as “male.” By the end of the year, she had chosen a new name, and we were referring to her by her preferred… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Negotiating Your Best Parsonage

A pastor’s residence is her retreat, her haven, her household’s headquarters. This week’s question is about her pastoral housing choice: to live in the church parsonage or not? Dear Matriarchs: I am UM and moving to a new appointment. The church has a parsonage, and they indicated that it was our choice to either move… Read More