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

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

Ask the Matriarch: About That Ministry “Hill Worth ‘Dying’ On”

Today, we consider critical church decisions, language choices, and the cost of doing ministry with integrity. Dear Matriarchs: I remember being surprised in my seminary field education class at how often one of my classmates used the phrase “not a hill I’m/we’re willing to die on” a lot about problems she and her supervising pastor… 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