Pastoral is Political: Stewardship of the Ideal

Today is the umpteenth who-even-knows-anymore day of the Season of COVID, during the weeks of protests for racial justice, in the days following the heart-rending, history-revealing passing of the honorable John Robert Lewis, civil rights leader and U.S. Representative from Georgia. Rep. Lewis died at the age of 80 after 65 years making “good trouble”… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: What Do I Do with this Gut-Punching Truth?

This week’s question comes directly from a pastor’s big heart. Our Matriarchs support her to work through her feelings of pain and confusion, a result of seeking to care for someone who trusts her as he faces the consequences of his what he did.  Dear Matriarchs: I have a parishioner from a church I served.… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: A Church Zoom Group’s Level of Inclusion

While we are not gathering in person, are you introducing online platforms for facilitating congregational community? This week’s question reminds us that in-person dynamics can easily migrate to the new venues. Greetings, Matriarchs! In my small congregation are several women who are all good friends, which is fine. There are times, however, that they are… Read More

The Pastoral is Political: When Two or More Can’t Gather

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the… Read More

Ask the Matriarch EXTRA: Best Congregational Practices for Flu Season

News of the world-wide outbreak of coronavirus (COVID 19) might find pastors and congregations thinking about — or rethinking — congregational practices to keep congregational gatherings as safe as possible.  What are you and your congregations going to do differently, if anything? How will guidelines be communicated and enforced? We asked our Matriarchs to offer… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Congregation Negatively Impacted by Former Pastor

One of the most difficult and courageous things a pastor will ever do is discerning when it is time to leave a congregation. Even more difficult are the follow-up actions of leaving well, leaving completely, and supporting the new pastor of your former congregation. The following story is real, all-too-common, and deeply painful. Dear Matriarchs:… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Retired Clergy Seeking Welcoming Congregation for Church Home

Calling all pastors of “We are a friendly church.” What experience do first -time visitors really have when they come through your doors? What if that person is clergy seeking a church home. Today we hear from a retired clergy woman who is starting to wonder if she ever will find her place to worship… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: When is friendly too friendly?

This week’s question is about a lot of things — inclusive church and appropriate touching are two of those. What are the real issues here, and what’s a pastor to do? Dear Matriarchs, My question is about creating a culture of respectful touching — and not touching — in a congregation that is very friendly,… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Congregational Planning with a Stewardship Emphasis

This week’s question is from a soon-to-be ordained pastor whose congregation is feeling some growing pains that will impact her own professional life. Dear Matriarchs, I serve a mid-size congregation as Director of Faith Formation. I recently became eligible for ordination and my congregation must now decide whether to call me to continue serving them… Read More