Ask the Matriarch: What to Tell the Search Committee — and How

Today’s riddle: What’s exciting, nerve-wracking, fraught with possibilities, and all about the questions? If you guessed “the pastoral search and call process,” you must be a pastor who has been through it. Are there subjects &/or questions that are off limits in those interviews? Read on: Dear Matriarchs, I am a finalist for a church… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Setting Sabbatical Boundaries

The Matriarch Mailbag brought us this question about sabbatical leave. Hello, Matriarchs! I am PCUSA serving in North Carolina. I have been in my present call 9 1/2 years. I am taking my first sabbatical in May for 3 months. For those of you who have done this: What were the boundaries you set and… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Keeping Zoom Gatherings Populated

As we approach a year of living with COVID, how do we pastors evaluate the effectiveness of remote church gatherings? How do we understand attendance numbers? This pastor wants to know how to keep parishioners participating. Dear Matriarchs,  This past week, I have been contemplating many things. One thing has been the question many have… Read More

Ask the Matriarch: Preaching Changes from Associate to Solo Pastor

Here’s a pastoral transition with challenges galore.  How does a pastor adapt when she moves from associate pastor to solo pastor?   Dear Matriarchs ~~ Have you ever made the leap from preaching once a month (as an associate) to preaching every week? Holy cow, what an adjustment! Tell me everything you know! Seriously, what best… 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

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