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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings:Cold Snap Edition

Here in the heartland, a change has occured. Yesterday was 65 degrees, and right now my weatherbug says it is 34 degrees! With the beginning of November tomorrow, other changes occur in the church calendar: suddenly there is no denying it. Ordinary Time for year B is dwindling fast! Only a few more Sundays left until Advent, and if you're like me, at least a couple of those will be spent on Stewardship themes.

That's why I'm very glad for this week's lectionary passages. The Ruth reading and the Gospel are two of my favorites. My choice this week is whether to go narrative (Ruth lends itself quite nicely to this.) or to just "give it to 'em straight" with the Gospel. I hope the Holy Spirit provides a clear signal before tomorrow morning! But then, I'm sure the Spirit is used to dealing with bulletin deadlines, eh?

Where are you leaning this week?

Monday, October 30, 2006

Trick or Treat Meet and Greet

It's that time of year again! Let's go Trick or Treating! Here are our new members, let's go knock on their doors and leave some treats!

First up is Magdalene's Musings from the Southern Tier of New York, United States. Her blog is "Accidental and incidental reflections on scripture, church, women, parenthood, music, art, and other things that haven't occurred to me yet, but about which I'm sure I have opinions." She describes herself as "A liberal Calvinista whose heart is strangely warmed, and whose affinity for a much maligned biblical figure is sort of an obsession." You must visit the blog to determine the biblical figure!

Next is Queen Mum from the not-too-deep south. Her blog is Cheaper Than Chocolate "Trying to make sense of things, like breast cancer, church, children, and loss. You know, all the cheery stuff. And a kick in the pants to write a little every day. I am in the process of breast reconstruction after bilateral mastectomies in June. The breast cancer was found early, before it had spread beyond my breast (the left one). But it was aggressive and scary, so I took an aggressive surgical route." She relates other scariness -- a roomfull of preschoolers and a big box of sand. Yikes! I know it's near Halloween and horror movies are everywhere, but please, not preschoolers and sand!!*

The Pen of the Wayfarer ponders on the matchless journey of following Jesus Christ... "And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfarer, yes, for even the simple ones and fools, shall not lose their way. (Isaiah 35:8)

Last is QuakerPastor, in The North Country! New York, United States. She writes "I very much enjoy my fulltime pastoral position at a small, programmed Friends meeting. My spouse and 14 year old son also are a big part of my life. I am a transplant from Ohio who still bleeds scarlet and gray on football Saturdays. One would think that would be good incentive for finishing sermon prep on Friday, but I do MANY early Sunday morning gigs....Is that the Holy Spirit or the caffeine inspiring me at 4:00 a.m.?! The divine is very present in my life in this faith community, this area, these mountains and water..."

Welcome one and all!

*I want to extend a particular welcome to Queen Mum as a fellow survivor (surgical without chemo or radiation) and remind one and all about self exams and mammograms. They can indeed save your life!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Prayer

Gracious and Loving God, we thank you for this day and for all the blessing in it. We thank you for the changing seasons and the blaze of colour that the turning leaves paint across the landscape. We thank you for the gift of creation, and we pray for your Spirit’s guidance as we try to be good stewards of its beauty and resources.

We thank you for all of the questions and challenges of our faith, for they lead us to a deeper, more meaningful, life in the spirit. You invite us to follow the way of Jesus – to travel the path that he has set before us in scripture. We pray, guide us on that path, and send us out as agents of your love and justice in the world.

God of us all, we pray for the needs of our friends and families and faith community.
Bless all who are in pain, or struggling with ill health, as well as those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. Bless anyone who is lonely, or hurting or bearing a long held wound that is getting in the way of life's fullness and abundance.

Bless your people everywhere, O God, and guide us toward peace in our time. Amen.

Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party

Preachers, wake! A voice astounds us,
the shout of rampart-guards surrounds us:

"Awake, all RevGal preachers, arise!"

Morning's peace their cry has broken,

their urgent summons clearly spoken:

"The time has come, O RevGals wise!

Rise up, and give us light;

for Sunday is in sight.

Your words prepare and hasten there,

that you the preaching feast may share.

(With apologies to Phillip Nicolai and J.S. Bach.)

(Also William Blake.)

It's a dark and rainy morning in an undisclosed corner of the U.S. A cat sits next to the laptop on the kitchen table, expectantly. Two large dogs wait sleepily for breakfast. I begin to catch the reassuring whiff of coffee. The rampart-guards here took the form of NPR on my clock-radio. I have either one notion and perhaps an illustration, or too many notions and the same illustration, all for a sermon on either this week's gospel lection of this week's and last week's or this week's and Psalm 34.

Let's just say it's going to take some caffeine and some time and a friendly visit from the (non-ghoulish) Ghost to make a sermon out of what is in the Word file at the moment. I feel grateful that tonight in most of the U.S. we turn back the clocks and gain an hour of sleep.

What lies ahead for you today? I'm hoping to make some sense of it by mid-afternoon, since there are hospital calls to make and a church supper to attend later.

And would you like some half-and-half in your coffee?

Friday, October 27, 2006

Ghoulish Friday Five

Reverendmother here...

I checked out last year's Halloween Friday Five, which dealt with candy and costumes. Great questions, supplied by Songbird. If you weren't around last year or didn't play then, feel free to do so now. Mmm. Candy.

You wanna see something *really* scary?...

1. Do you enjoy a good fright?

2. Scariest movie you've ever seen

3. Bobbing for apples: choose one and discuss:
a) Nothing scary about that! Good wholesome fun.
b) Are you *kidding* me?!? The germs, the germs!

4. Real-life phobia

5. Favorite "ghost story"

Let us know if you play so we can come haunt your place. Here's how to link directly:
<a href=URL>what you want the link to say</a>

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ask the Matriarch: Better to Give Than Receive

Dear Matriarchs,

I am always leery about accepting gifts that are beyond a certain limit—for instance, I'll take any and all cookies and cakes that come my way, but I really would have a problem with a present that cost a lot of money. After all, it's really the thought that counts.

I did get a check at Christmas from the entire church that was the equivalent of a regular paycheck, but I feel that's OK because it came from the church body and not one individual.

I suppose what I'm really concerned are gifts with "strings attached"—a present given that later would come back and haunt me.

So what's a good rule of thumb?

— Can't Take It

If you’ve watched the British faith-comedy The Vicar of Dibley, you might have seen our dear kindred spirit the Rev. Geraldine Granger react ecstatically to the notion of David Horton giving her whatever she wanted for Christmas, as long as it was an illustrated leather-bound Bible—in his mind, the only thing that was appropriate for Gerry to want (though she already had 22 identical Bibles).

The matriarchs agree that a large or extravagant gift from an individual, no matter how well intended it is, should be gracefully declined. (See last month’s “Ask the Matriarch: Boundary Waters” for a refresher on what to do when you discern potential “strings attached.”)

But what are the guidelines for accepting gifts, especially with holidays approaching? Well, for one—there’s a difference between gifts from individuals and gifts from a group. Retirement, Christmas, birthdays, etc., tend to bring out the gift-givers in all of us. “When the gift comes from the whole congregation or a group within the congregation (such as when the elders go in together for a little something), there’s not a problem,” says Jan, noting that such gifts can span the spectrum. “I know one pastor who received a whopping $100,000 when he retired from his longtime congregation. And then we have Barbara Brown Taylor who famously shared that when she left her last parish position—after being named ‘One of the 12 Best Preachers in the English-speaking World’—she was given a ceramic pumpkin.”

Another occasion where it can be appropriate to accept a gift is when it’s a small thank-you for officiating at a wedding or funeral—checks or gift cards.

Abi notes that she was taught in seminary, as well as in her experience as a chaplain and pastoral counselor, not to accept gifts at all, but she agrees that the “from a group on special occasions” guideline passes muster. If gifts make you uncomfortable or present an ethical dilemma, you can encourage the people offering them to “give gifts to the church or a mission work in your name if they absolutely insist or feel they must,” Abi says.

“Gifts come from friends and family, so be sure you are building a network of friends, and staying in touch with family,” Abi continues. “We are not entitled just because we have the title Reverend or Pastor connected to our name.”

So to sum up, don’t ever expect gifts, thank people for appropriate gifts, and encourage those who would be more generous to direct that generosity where it is needed most.

If you have something to say on this topic, please share it in comments!

Got a question for our esteemed team of wisdom-toting matriarchs? Send it along to us at All queries are kept confidential.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Fantabulous Wednesday Fun Festival

Heidi-ho, good neighbors!

Welcome to the Fantabulous Wednesday Festival o' Fun! For your blogging pleasure, may I suggest:

St. Inuksuk is doing a quick poll on signs-along-the-way. She wants to know "about how many clergywomen, especially full-time, have help cleaning house? It will save my sanity and perhaps, even my marriage! I really would like to know." And she thanks you for your help!

From Preachermom: I'd love some organizational feedback. Check out my questions at need tips.

From Winged Man, who says "It's a post about how tradition doesn't seem all that unanimous and yet I think it's insightful anyway."

From Abi: It is a further discussion of the Ask The Matriarch question about theology, but it also includes a personal story that might help also.

The Sacred Art of Living says: "Here's a post I just wrote on a ritual of remembrance that emerged.

From Inner Dorothy: Sue's congregation's voted this past weekend to become an Open and Affirming ministry in the United Church of Canada.

Reverend Mother has a few poems up, most of which provide a little snapshot/insight
into life these days. This one is about the state of her house. This one is about one of her daughter's current obsessions and this one is about the "family rules"!

From Carmen: I wrote about the God-talk I found in a couple of television shows: the similarities between Jesus’ call and the one in ‘Heroes’ as well as some thoughts on love and grace in ‘Jericho’. Also, have y’all seen Dove’s video on beauty?! Or has that already made the rounds in RevGal land?

From Chartreuse Ova: A short little ditty about a trip and a request for prayer.

Girl Gone Great explains: "I'm making a request for advice on ordering Hydrangeas from Costco. The more visitors the better!"

Reverend Mommy offers: I did an exercise, trying to bridge classes with life. And reflected on solitude.

There be poets among us!

eternal echoes,
Love During Wartime,
Another unfinished symphony,
the vicar of hogsmeade, and
reverend mommy

Offered for your blogging pleasure:

Big Dunk shares a conversation she had prior to her salvation that opened her heart to God.

There is no rest for the weary at rev to be mibi's house, especially when the cats are involved.

St. Casserole tells us why it is so important to read the mags that are in beauty parlors.

Musings of Micah Girl is out to find God in the mundane.

Before you take on any home improvement or remodeling you might want to read Terrapin Station.

And Deb posts:

A musing on ministry to a bitter, depressed woman in my life...

Poking fun at myself in one called "Just As I Yam" ...

Some of the fruit from memorizing Colossians 3 ...

And finally... because I think this is something really cool that the Christian community could embrace: A project for Darfur making paperdolls (and you don't have to be a kid to do it!)

The Winged Man discerns his call in regards to his present denomination situation. He asks important questions about his tradition.

Possible Water writes extensively about “Y she blogs” – glad she is a part of RGBP!

And me? I'm celebrating my first bloganniversary!!!!!

Be blessed, y'all!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

Good morning. ye Lectionary Lassies and Lads. There's frost on the ground, a chill in the air, good coffee or tea for drinking, and muffins for eating. Pull up a chair as we read and discuss the lectionary passages for Sunday. You don't have to be preaching Sunday, or lectionary preaching to put in a word or two. So off we go to first read Sunday's passages.

I am leaning toward the Mark 10:46-52 passage, the healing of Bartimaeus, a blind beggar.
La guérison de l'aveugle-né by Corinne Vonaesch

Which way are you leaning? Perhaps you are preaching the
Jeremiah passage? The painting of Jeremiah by Michaelangelo -->

Or are you preaching through Job?
<--- The painting of Job is by Chagall

What are you thinking? You are invited to post your leanings, thoughts, and questions in the comment section.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mission Impossible Meet 'N Greet

Just imagine the "Mission Impossible" them here. (Dum dum dum dum ...) This is because on a Windy Day in Atlanta, I cannot keep a stable internet connection on the Emory Campus.

Good Afternoon, RevGals. The people you are about to meet are our newest members. Your mission? To go visit their blogs and meet and greet them. Reverend Mommy will be your point person today. She's in Atlanta currently dealing with a flakey internet connection. Here are the new member's vital statistics:

Blog: Random Thoughts of a Lutheran Geek
Name: LutherLiz
Location:Minnesota, United States
Self-Description: I'm a geek in the best sense of the word. I am passionate about books, movies, theology, philosophy, language, music, and of course, cheesy science fiction! Despite my musings over at livejournal, I wanted to start a more traditional blog here. I hope that my thoughts may be interesting, thought provoking, or even amusing. If not, I hope that you'll fovgive me! I'll do my best though!

Blog: Rev. Rants: rantings, reflections, and redecorating
Name: Divine Cupcake, twenty-something married female minister
Location: Undisclosed
Self-Description: I've never blogged before but now is the time! Its been nine weeks at my first ministerial call and ministry is rough. So I'll be using my blog to reflect on ministerial happenings, on my own self-care while also reaching out for guidance and commiseration.

Blog: Frog Blog
Name:1-4 Grace
Location: South, United States
Self-Description: I am a first call pastor in a Southern town with lots of questions, few answers and a firm belief in God's goodness and grace amid it all.

Blog: Faith, Love, and Band-aids...a Lutheran Mom's blog
Location:midwest, United States
Self-Description: A 29 year old wife and mother, trying to figure out God's plan for her life, while trying to instill a strong faith in her children's hearts.(and hoping to have a little fun along the way)

Blog: Groanings and Grace
Name:Barbara Lindgren
Location: Long Prairie, Minnesota, United States
Self-Description: I am a United Methodist pastor and Benedictine oblate who has been through the fire--personally (death of marriage and my mother within one year),and in trying to serve Christ's church (conflict survivor). I have much to groan about in serving three churches in rural small town Minnesota--a place not of my heart--yet recognize that God's grace is freely poured in the midst of it all.

Blog: Life on the Spiral
Name:Sue Densmore
Self-Description: Life is not measured by the number of breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away. Learning to live out our faith is a lifelong pursuit. Living it out in community requires a readiness to share our lives and our thoughts. We must have people we trust with whom we can travel the road home. I have no idea how often I will write articles for this blog. But as I learn, I want to share. My thoughts, stories, and lessons may help someone on their journey. Since we are all in this together, why not help each other along?

Blog: Reflections on the Bible
Name: Jenny
Self-Description: I hope that the "Reflections:" posted here will not just be my own but those who wish to add their thoughts. Or to suggest a text.

Blog: Red Heeler Ranch A mythical destination deep in the heart of Texas, where dreamers dream big and cattle dogs run free.
Name: zorra
Location: Texas
Self-Description: I am (among other things) a wife, friend, dog mama, native Southerner, naturalized Texan, clinical psychologist, Presbyterian elder, and amateur theologian. My favorite activity is just hanging out with my husband of 24 years (the Scientist) and Amie, our sweet elderly cattle dog.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Sunday Prayer

*note: I usually cross-post this prayer over on the RevGal site, and will do so today. Our congregation, Little Church on the Corner, is voting today on the matter of becoming an Affirming congregation. This move is in keeping with the official position of the United Church of Canada, and is supported by our Presbytery, which is an Affirming Presbytery.

Loving and Mysterious God, I'm praying for our church today. Not only Little Church on the Corner, but for your Church in the world. My prayer is that regardless of the results of today's decision, our church family will continue to seek out justice, peace and sacredness in all that we do. My prayer is that our little congregation can live out its gospel call to love our neighbour without condition.

God, be with us as discern our place in a diverse and complicated world. Be with us, and send your Spirit into our midst, so that we might see Christ in one another as we share our thoughts on this decision. Help us to see the humanity and the struggle within those who disagree with us. Remind us that as we are called to love neighbour, we are especially called to love those with whom we do not agree. Bring that radical Christ-love into our space this morning, O God.

God of us all, stay close. We need you. Now, and always. Amen. Amen.

Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Eleventh Hour Preacher Party...

...with a rather under-the-weather host. *cough* *blow nose* *cough cough* Alright, everyone, you can come in, but don't come too close. I don't want to pass off this nasty cold to any of you. I can just see it now: the world's pulpits filling with congested, red-eyed, runny-nosed preachers. Not a pretty picture.

So, what I have to contribute to today's party is: lemon and honey tea, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, orange tea, ginger twist tea, chicken noodle soup, and thera-flu. Oh, and kleenex. There is coffee in the kitchen. I don't think I can pry my butt off the couch to make it, but you may help yourselves.

I have Job 38 and Mark 10:35-45 on the docket for this week, and I think I have a general trajectory. Unfortunately, I also have a vow renewal ceremony and a church coffeehouse gig, so I'll be in and out despite my less than healthy state, and this may end up being the week I try preaching from an outline, out of sheer necessity. Then again, preaching from an outline while highly medicated might not be the best idea ever, so who knows?

Anyway, enough about my illness. Pull up a chair, and bring your ideas, questions, frustrations, celebrations, and snacks to the table. Sooner or later, we'll all have dogs, and we'll walk them proud, because that's what we do. Party on, preachers!

Friday, October 20, 2006

Friday Five: Word Association

Below you will find five words. Tell us the first thing you think of on reading each one. Your response might be simply another word, or it might be a sentence, a poem or a story.






(Yes, they're all from Job 38.)

As always, leave a note in the comments if you play. And if you can leave a link to your post, so much the better!

How to make a link:
[a href="URL"]what you want the link to say[/a]
Simply substitute <> for [].

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ask The Matriarch:...Seminarianism!

Eschatology, exegesis and hermeneutics, OH MY! writes, somewhat tongue-in-cheekly:
I know I am only in my first semester, but I am wallowing in "seminarianism", or the use of all the "-ation" or "-ology" words to make one sound educated and "holy"... I don't talk that way. I don't relate my faith that way. Is it required that I sound like a walking Thesaurus to be an effective pastor? Somehow, I don't think so... but at the moment I am feeling fairly stupid.How does one combat the snarky little desire to throw out a little Greek or Hebrew or the massively impressive theological term in casual conversation to sound like a Reverend-WannaBe??Or am I just in a vocabulary learning curve?
And now for the Matriarchs' collective wisdom:
Susan advises:
I had a seminary professor who suggested that we learned all these fancy terms so we could sound smart at cocktail parties. Funny, I haven't been to that many cocktail parties.
I also knew a guy who used the Greek New Testament as his pulpit Bible. He translated as he went. Comment from the congregation: "He was so smart we couldn't understand him."
I told them that if he were really smart he would be able to help them understand the concepts and not have to use Greek or Hebrew or the massively impressive theological term.
revabi says:
LOL. We have all been there, and some of us still struggle with it. The "isms" get me. Part of being a Pastor is being the "Resident Theologian", or at least I was told that. I see it this way, I know that people come to us with tough questions or really want to know or understand something. My job as the "Resident Theologian" is knowing the resources to turn people to, helping them understand in a language they can understand, and often helping them with the questioning and wrestling they are doing with God.
Do I have to know it all, be able to expound it all? No, except when I served a church full of PHD's and they knew it all or thought they did, and I had to be on my toes. But seriously it is important to know the "ology" and "ation" and Greek and Hebrew to be informed to keep learning and to help inform our congregation and keep them growing as disciples.
I remember being told I would lose my faith by going to seminary, that they would strip it away for all the head knowledge. That was not what happened at all though, My faith grew as my knowledge base grew. I didn't just have a heart religion or feeling religion but a head and heart faith. I learned that I loved learning, and that I was being taught to think for myself, and not to be afraid to ask the big and hard questions. I learned I love NT and Greek and some other parts of my Divinity degree. Later on I have learned I have a love for the OT and Hebrew.
"Seminarianism," that's a funny title for it, I thought it was a cemetery. Develop your friends, read short stories and novels, have a hobby or sport, listen to your favorite music. Get a life, get off campus, I mean you are human aren't you? And when you serve a church you will be serving humans too, take a hint from Jesus, he treated them like human beings and acted like one himself.
I like what Jan said about spouting terms at parties, that's like the Doctor or Psychologist spouting clinical terms at parties. Yuck.
In the book Ministry is a High Calling (Aim Low) by Kurt R. Schuermann, He has a chapter titled "Don't ever use any word you learned in seminary". On page 4, he then lists the words as the following but not limited to:
  • Liturgical renewal
    The inner child
    Paradigm shift
    Sitz im leben
    Process thought
    The homiletical plot
    Tribal amphictyony
    Any Greek word
    The name of a German theologian
    The name of any theologian
Lord, I confess I have sinned and offended my sisters and brothers by using the words; visioning, the inner child, empower, and any greek word. Lord have mercy, I am guilty of "Seminary-ese."
Jan offers this:
Dear Seminarian,
Although denominational committees charged with overseeing seminarians might disagree, you are going to seminary to please God – not them. While they and your professors, and even a couple of obnoxious classmates, might find it impressive to say things like "I used to concur with Anselm's theory of atonement but now I'm more of an Abelardian" Jesus didn't talk like this any more than you do.
There's nothing worse than a pastor who is least likely to remind everybody of Christ.
The average parishioner is going to be more interested in your bedside manner, how real you are, and how much you love them even when they are unlovable.
You are called to make disciples of all nations and while it's good to know your theology, you will please God and find that people take you seriously as a pastor if you use your theology to serve not to show off. People who unnecessarily toss around words like "soteriology" never get invited to cocktails parties. (Or at least the fun ones.)

Me(Galley Cat):
I'm renowned for being a walking thesaurus, but as a layperson, when someone in clergy drops one of those words in my lap I find myself scrambling for a dictionary and annoyed that I'm "not smart enough." I can only imagine how it is for the layperson who hasn't studied Latin and Greek extensively (as I have) and isn't a professional editor (as I am). Now, I know you submitted this partly in lighthearted jest, but one of the reasons I thought to run it is that during a book discussion group recently, one of the priests leading the discussion dropped a ten-dollar word into the discussion and everyone in the room simultaneously did the blank-nod-vacant-smile face of incomprehension.
This isn't a problem peculiar to seminaries; its rampant in academia. And while we all shared a chuckle at your distress, there is something you can do. Come to understand these concepts in language that means something to you--by doing so, you'll be able to convey these concepts in language that means something to the people you are talking to. For the real gift of a true communicator isn't that she is a lexical heavyweight, it's that she can bring grander themes and issues into focus using language and diction that connects with people regardless of their backgrounds.
*runs off to look up "soteriology" again*
(And big thanks to RevAbi for helping me out this week.
Galley cat did the big work compiling the answers. I did the posting as she was detained momentarily by situations in her personal life, but says she will be back next time. And by the way Soteriology is the doctrine of the work of the Redeemer or doctrine of salvation as effected by Jesus. You can go to St. John Rev Abi to find some more links.)

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wednesday Festival

Needless to say, RGBP web ring has been prolific in its postings and there have been recommendations to share with you!

Do the genes/jeans have it?

First off the bat, we have all have genes - as in DNA. Who says word doesn't travel fast? The following RGBP folk have wanted to see their DNA makeup, including revabi, Cheesehead did hers because PPB did hers. Marie did hers and of course I felt compelled to follow suit so I did it too. Which led to the Vicar of Hogsmeade playing. And NotShyChiRev says "this is me". . Grace Happens says that all the cool kids are doing it, including her. Considerate Artist Sally even posted hers on her sidebar! Terrapin Station did it to be cool too, like net . Now, if you like. you can find out your DNA personality profile here.

Speaking of genes jeans, St Casserole has had her mom jeans stolen and is on a mission to find them. Can you help?


Let's move over to the shoe department ...

Katherine shares her own beauty tips with pictures of her shoes to boot (no pun intended and no boots either) She shares her good taste in shoes even before beauty tips for ministers.

And in the generosity department....

Shannon made her Mom so proud and rightly so. Read Faith Musing's post about God's generosity in her daughter. What a shining example to us all that we may all be so generous. Shannon, my guess is that this is one of many acts of kindness and generosity you will show in your life!

In the fine arts department....
Karen's post of the poem "Ordinary Time" is extraordinary, right down to the photo that accompanies it. Stop by and check out this awesome poem by Karen.

Lorna wants to know if you see the message in this work of art. She believes God gave her a prohetic message/insight though it. Do you see it? She wants to know! She's dying to spill the beans. And if that isn't enough, she also had a GREAT surprise of visitors on Sunday! Her cup runneth over in joy!
Mary Beth is just dying to tell you this..

MaryBeth writes about funerals - a lot to think about as she talks about a funeral she does NOT want and the type she is going to have! Makes you think!

Chronologically speaking...

Sally might make you think with this one in meeting God in the most unlikely of places at the most unilkely of time. Speaking of time, Cheesehead lost 42 mins and is looking to where they may have gone? Might you help her? Don't forget to read the comments..

Secret longings....
BadAlice has been reading "leisureporn" and has secret longings - Bad Alice, I have never owned egg cups, but I remember my grandmother having them.

Let's practice.....
Groaning and Grace has begun the practice of naming - she has quite the challenge .
From the homiletics department...
Imagine someone posting a sermon in this ring.. and yessiree, step right up (or is that yes ma'amree)
Do you ever get a hankering to read/hear another sermon, but are always the one in the pulpit? Well her's your chance to read some ones that were receommended, not by the writer, but by their readers. Enjoy.
Chilly Fingers shares about gifts and God.
Dr. Tony shares his sermon on choosing the right church to find God.
The tentmaker preaches about following Jesus is hard.
Anglobaptist of Conjectural navelgazing preaches on God not wanting our money - find out what he DOES want in his sermon.
Nachfolge sermon is title "The One Thing" - find out more about it here.

And to top it off - see what it's like in the home of a preacher on Sunday morning. This post captures it so well.


Check out the culinary department of RGBP ......................

Who says we don't need a cookbook with this group of culinary artists? Sacred Feastingis what category the Sacred art of Living gives to her Cranberry Chicken
After feasting on that recipe, go to Reverend Mommy, as she got on a roll with her Comfort Cheese, then Comfort Spanakopita and topping it off Comfort Baklava with PEE-cans. See a Greek trend here?

Yummy yummy yummy for our tummy, Effervescence gives not only a cookie recipe but a poem to boot.
Purpletologically speaking....
Surely everyone has seen Set Free, better known as Songbird - but did you know she really is NOT purple??? Go find out for yourself! Oh my gosh, she really isn't purple!

Herpetologically speaking....
Amy Maxwell at Gentle Whisper is wrestling snakes and worms.

On Friday the 13th there was a snowstorm in New York - I read this story from a perspective of a person who has never experienced snow. I am still amazed of how one must be prepared for snow during driving. This story kept me spellbound as I was trying to wear In my Lifetime's shoes/boots during this story. Read about it here.

And there's more...!
Preacher mom gets to have a first in the midst of an older congregation.

Rev em has a great post about the effects of apathy in the church.

And in the Ripley's Believe it or not department, April at Salt for the Spirit is tested for clairvoyance, while Tangled Up in Blue joined a church Sunday, and has some angst thought . Any advice?
And in the movie department...
In the Open Space: God and Culture, here are a couple of movie reviews: One Night with the King and some rather long rambling thoughts about God-talk in the new Battlestar Galactica season. Check it out!

Some folks are so organized department....
It's October and some of the RGBP folks are preparing for the holiday season - Frodo wrote to tell about it!

On a more serious note....
Rev Abi reminds us of a very special awareness month on domestic violence.

On a lighter and more distant note, but not without its weight and impact...
Well, the last "used to be" planet is no longer. See what trouble it is to remove Pluto into nonplanet status? Check out what hipastorzwife2B has to say- and what will the mnemonical sentence be for the planets be without the "P"?

Well that's the news to you from Lake RGBP - believe it or not, all of these were from the news YOU BROUGHT to the email box . Do you have news to share or did you read a posting on the ring that you think needs recognition? We want to hear from you. Are you the "view from the pew" or the "culprit from the pulpit"? (Hmmm tshirts in the making!)

Did you know one way of getting to know each other is sharing your thoughts and comments on other members blogs? Lifelong friendships have been known to happen this way. Not only that, more than likely that person will want to know more about you... and that is what makes this web ring so special! When you drop by and read, say hello!

Did we miss you? Or did you happen to find something you want to share in the comments box - share with the rest of the group about your findings or simply email us at Wednesday Festival! Remember to share what YOU have!

That's all folks!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: I'm Not Preaching Edition

Hi Friends,

In two days I will officially be on Study Leave, at a nearby clergy retreat center after first helping Wondergirl celebrate turning sixteen. Thus, I will not be in the pulpit this Sunday.

The lectionary passages for the this Sunday can be found here. I have to admit, this line in Job "Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?" is one that I have always wanted to explore homiletically. I just don't think we preach often enough about the Sovereignty of God. (I don't, anyway.)

So...preachers, teachers, worshippers: what's on your minds this week?

RGBP INC.--Notice of Meeting emailed to members

This morning I emailed a Notice of Meeting to all of you who joined RevGalBlogPals Inc. as of last Friday, October 13. The purpose of the notice is to inform you that the meeting will be held at 10 am CDT at the corporate office on Friday, October 27. The meeting will be held electronically and we will be emailing proxy statements to each of you who received the notice of meeting that will allow you to vote for the nominees for the Board of Directors after nominations close this Friday, October 20.

Seven directors will be elected at the meeting. As of this morning, there are 10 nominations: Songbird, Mary Beth, Quotidian Grace, Katherine (edited 6/12/07 for anonymity), Cathy Stevens, Cheesehead, Reverendmommy, St. Cassarole, Wills Mama and Revabi. Self-nominations are encouraged. Please email your nominations at the RGBP Inc. link on the sidebar.

The election of the first full board of directors is an exciting step for this new organization. Thanks to each of you who have joined RGBP Inc. We need your continued participation and support. If you haven't joined, but would like to, just email us at the same address. Although you will not be able to vote in this first election, you will receive future emails and information about the activities of RGBP Inc. and will be able to participate fully in them.

If you have any questions, please comment on this post and I will respond.

Quotidian Grace

Monday, October 16, 2006

Monthly Mission Moment

Hello and welcome to our Monthly Mission Moment. Our inbox held stories of several wonderful mission projects being done by members of our web ring.

Free Flying Spirit tells of her congregation's cooperative efforts to feed the hungery during the winter months:

Since the late 1990's we have offered a hot meal program during the winter months (October to April) in our downtown church. The "Out of the Cold" program is every Friday night during that time. It is for the homeless, those who are lonely, or just do not like eating alone all the time. Loneliness is also a type of being 'cold'.

There are six teams shared amongst the churches in the area. But also, our Anglican neighbours take two meals every month and they have other churches they involve as well. Our youth and younger people are heavily involved with one of the teams and many people have responded to this need who otherwise do not get involved because the need is here and they can DO something about it.

Altogether there are over 240 volunteers who share in this vital mission ministry. We are supported by businesses, such as the Dairy Queen in the area, and other downtown merchants, by anonymous donors and by our own members and volunteers, as well as the Food Bank. There are also a series of fund raisers, such as concerts, that offer others not involved here to be a past of this cause. We are stringent in following the Laws required in food preparation and clean up.

Our guests are served at the table, as at home, and are always warmed by the friendly atmosphere as well as the warm meal. They arrive alone, or in families, as couples, or with friends. We are told the food is wonderful and we serve a variety of types of meals.

It is one way to serve others, as Christ has asked us to. Hospitality is an important part of our faith tradition...breaking bread and sharing the common cup...with all. It comes from a spirit of gratefulness and realizing the need...right where we are planted.

Possible Water provides a link to a resource for congregations seeking to address issues around faithful stewardship of natural resources:

If you scroll down, there's a booklet to download, and a link to info about the grants.

And Sally Coleman links us to information about her group's unique ministry of getting the Christian Spiritual Path a hearing at New Age/Alternative Spirituality Fairs and Conferences.
Journey Into Wholeness article for rev gals.doc

We'll be back next month. If you have a mission project you would like to highlight, click the Mission Moment button on the sidebar and tell us all about it.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sunday Prayer

Creator God, Wondrous Source of life, Author of all that is good, hear my prayer. As I prepare for worship this week, I bring with me the cares and concerns of so many I've walked with in recent days. I am thankful for the blessed gift of being invited onto the holy ground of another person's struggles. This is my call and my privilege.

God, I learned a long time ago that I cannot do what I do, unless you walk with me. So thanks. I've seen a lot of heartache this week, and I have called upon your Spirit for comfort and healing. Forgive my tendency to want to "fix" pastoral concerns, to make things all right for people whose lives are anything but all right. Remind me often that sometimes just being there is the best ministry I can do, and it is all that is required.

Bless our worship this morning. Open us to the daring and radical challenge of the gospel upon our lives. Open our imaginations to the possibilities in front of us as a community of believers. Open us to your empowering Love, this day and every day, for we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.

Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

11th Hour Preacher Party: Sleepy Bird edition


I fear I will be a poor hostess this morning. As the on-call Chaplain at the local hospital, I was up until 1 a.m. The dogs do not understand, of course, and seemed to expect breakfast at something like the usual time.

I did manage to grind some beans and brew a fragrant pot of coffee, but I am hoping for a snoozle before I do much of anything else. Unless of course the phone rings in my remaining 14 minutes on call...

How goes it with your sermon writing? My sermon is outlined, and I believe the images are strong, but if I'm planning to write a manuscript, I need to be a little more awake first!

Anyone bring a coffee cake? I would love a piece of coffee cake.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Five: Creature Comforts

Reverendmother here...

Maybe it's the arrival of crisp October, my favorite month. Or maybe it's the fact that the divine little miss m has been sick all week (and if the baby ain't happy, ain't nobody happy). Whatever the reason, my thoughts have been turning to cozy creature comforts--those activities and spaces that just make a person feel good. And so...

1. Comfort beverage

2. Comfort chair

3. Comfort read

4. Comfort television/DVD/music

5. Comfort companion(s)

Let us know if you play; use this code to link:
<a href=>what you want the link to say</a>

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ask the Matriarch: It's Homecoming Season

Homecoming! Football! Tailgates! Discernment questions!

Wait, what was that last bit? I'll get to that in a minute. But first: be sure to keep reading past this post for an important update regarding RevGalBlogPals membership--the deadline is tomorrow, if you would like a chance to vote in the first Board election.

At any rate, this week's Ask the Matriarch is about homecoming, but in a completely different way—when the prodigal daughter returns to her home church, a fledgling, and is encouraged to stay in the nest:

I am currently in the process of ordination for my denomination. I have completed my academic requirements, but I still have a few things that will take at least a year to complete for my governing body. Since my graduation I have moved back to the place that I grew up, and I have once again become very active of the congregation that I grew up in.

Our Director of Children’s Ministries recently announced that she will be retiring from her position after the New Year. I have already been asked by a number of people if I will be applying for the interim position. Although I do have a passion of Christian Education and enjoy working with children, everything within me tells me that working for the church I grew up in would be a bad idea. I need my church to stay my church rather than my place of employment, plus I really would like to have to opportunity to work not just with children but also with youth and adults.

I am not sure the best way to respond to these well-meaning folks. I have a feeling that “because I don’t want to work at this church” and “I don’t want to limit myself to kids” is the best response. I am open to any advice that our wise and learned matriarchs have to offer.

- Needs to 'No'

The matriarchs agree: You have answered your own question. “It sounds like your heart and brain are both screaming ‘don’t do it,’” writes Jan. “I’ve known this kind of thing to work out on a temporary basis, but you are smart to be concerned about boundaries. If you join the church staff, to some extent, you are losing your pastor and your congregation. They become your boss and your parishioners, respectively.” Abi notes that it’s great that you want to stay involved and active with the church you grew up in and commends you for your good sense in “keeping the boundaries clear, if you want your church to be your church, and not your place of employment.”

How to respond
Abi: I think it is wise to respond something like this; “Thanks for the encouragement/vote of confidence; that really feels good. But you know, this is my church, and it is just not a good idea for me to work in the church that is my church. And I am not called to work with just children. I have prayed about it, and it is not the direction God is leading me in right now. But please keep me in your prayers as I finish all my requirements up and pursue a church to serve.”

Karen: It seems to me that the main reason to say no to this job would be that they will want someone who can commit to this position over the long haul, but you will want to seek an ordained call once you’ve jumped through all the denominational process hoops. If you did take this job, you’d likely be leaving in a year or so, and your church would be left in the lurch again.

A possible compromise
Karen went through something very similar at her church, when her office administrator’s spouse was transferred out of state and had to move very abruptly. “We had a recent seminary grad who grew up in this church and was living with her parents while searching for a call,” Karen writes. “She became our interim Office Admin and served 6 months before moving on, and it worked out well both for us and for her.”

That might be a way to say yes and no simultaneously. “Would you be open to proposing that you’d consider serving as an ‘interim director of children’s ministry’ for a limited time?” asks Karen. ‘If their current person has been there a while, they might appreciate having some breathing room to think and pray about how they want to shape that position for the future—and it would give you some additional church experience that might put you in a better position job search-wise when you are ready to seek a call.”

What’s next?
But that’s completely up to you. It sounds like you are getting your ducks in a row for the next chapter in your life, and there are many factors to consider. Jan and Abi suggest an internship, if that’s possible, or going for Clinical Pastoral Education if you think that might be the direction you want to go.

Some of things they’d ask you in return include whether you are actively seeking employment in a church at this time or waiting until you’re ordained. “Ponder your greatest passions and/or what will best equip you for your dream position once you can be ordained,” writes Jan. There’s also the risk that “working solely with young kids will type-cast you for future calls,” she continues, noting it’s a valid concern. “You might be right. Churches always seem to be looking for someone to work with kids/youth ministry and you will have “experience.’”

Also, Jan asks, if you are job-hunting, it depends where you are geographically—and whether that's where you want to stay. Is this the only probable opening in the area? If so, you may want to consider it after all.

However you choose to handle it, you’re in our prayers as you continue toward ordainment and writing the next chapter of your life. If anyone else has insights on this situation, please share in the comments!


FYI: Membership deadline is tomorrow,
if you would like a chance to vote in the first Board election.

There have been so many new bloggers added to the RevGalBlogPals webring, that Songbird, Mary Beth and I, as the initial directors of RGBP Inc, thought it was time to explain again what RevGalBlogPals Inc. is and how it relates to the webring.

Here's the story of the birth of RGBP Inc. A number of RGBP bloggers met up last May at the Festival of Homiletics in Atlanta. They discussed the webring and the activities that members of the webring have been engaged in together as well as ideas for the future of the group. After that meeting, I was asked to incorporate a non-profit corporation in order to provide ownership and oversight of the webring and our publications or joint projects, like the two devotional books the webring published ( A Light Blazes in the Darkness and Ordinary Time), and the Cafe Press store. The group that met in Atlanta wanted to provide accountability and a corporate structure for the handling of the profits from these ventures and to be able to apply for grants for future projects from various foundations.

I agreed to help and in July RGBP Inc. was incorporated as a non-profit organization in the state of Texas. I've applied for a 501-c-3 designation from the IRS and expect to hear from the IRS early in 2007.

RGBP Inc. is a membership organization. You do NOT have to be a member in order to join the webring, but you must have a blog in the webring to be eligible to be a member. Members will elect the first board of directors by email proxy October 27. Until this board is elected the corporation is being run by the organizing board--me, Songbird and Mary Beth Butler (Terrapin Station). Once we get tax-exempt status from the IRS we plan to apply for grants so we can organize a gathering of the members for fellowship and education.

If you join by this Friday, October 13, you will be eligible to vote for the first board of directors. Check the RevGalBlogPals Inc. link on the sidebar for more information about becoming a member. If you have questions, please put them in the comments here so I can respond. That way others who may have the same question will be able to get the information.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wednesday Festival: A Holy Feast

Welcome to the feast that is the RevGals&Pals' Blogs! Thank you to all who sent in nominations this week. A yummy assortment is available for your delight and savoring.


First, we have several hearty selections under the heading of Church-y Things:

Tangled Up in Blue writes a heartbreaking post about her call to ministry denied as a partnered gay person.

See Through Faith writes a post about the Eucharist that has prompted a meaty discussion! Quotidian Grace has some very personal reflections on the recent announcement that the Catholic Church no longer teaches the doctrine of limbo.

Sally at Sally's Journey and Becky at Monday Morning Letters both preached on Job this weekend and invite you over for a peek.


We have a wonderful series of rich offerings in the category of Nonviolence, mostly inspired by the Amish:

Conjectural navel gazing shares a sermon on the witness of the Amish to us all

Jorge at The Winged Man writes of the holiness of Amish valuing peace above revenge.

Carmen at In the Open Space writes about The Amish Way as really being the Way of Jesus.

And while Singing Owl does not talk about the Amish, she does write a very touching story about a victim of domestic violence and invites us to pray for all who are abused by others.


And under the offering of Simple Things (as in sometimes simple is the most profound) some scrumptiousness:

Preacher Mom finds herself giggling at Proverbs and reflects on the fading of flowers as a metaphor for holding tight to the way things were.

Musings posts about the simple beauty of home, and movies for the homesick -- if you are from Beaufort, SC that is -- and how shrimpboats can sometimes be what fill you up after a draining week. Mmmmm. . . shrimp!

Sally has some reflections on connecting with people who follow different spiritual paths and how we connect with them.

Pam has some simple and lovely reflections on light.


And for our final course, some very Sweet and Beautiful Things:

The Ministry of Skidboot, a must if you are a dog lover!

Girl Gone Great has some sparkly new jewelry. Congratulations are definitely in order!

And I have some dahlia photos to inspire you to consider your own blossoming over at Sacred Art of Living.


I don't know about you, but I feel just about stuffed! Please leave a note in the comments to share any other tasty morsels available on your blog!

Blessings to you all, Christine

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings: Better Late Than Never Edition

Hi friends. My day has been chock-full-o' meetings today, so I am getting to this a little late. You can find the Revised Common Lectionary here.

I will be focusing on the Markan passage this week. I have decided to sneak up on the congregation with the ideas of stewardship. Okay, not really sneak, but explore these ideas in several different ways over several Sundays.

This week I have been reading the book by Judith Levine titled Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping. In true stewardship fashion, I borrowed it from the library! What does it mean to live without shopping as entertainment? How can we adopt a spirit of stewardship in every aspect of our lives? What more--in terms of time, talent, and treaure--could we offer the mission of the church if we spent less on non-essentials?

These are the ideas I have kicking around in my head this week.

What ideas are kicking around your head this week as you prepare to preach, lead worship, participate in church life, or study in seminary?

Monday, October 09, 2006

Howdy Partners!

It's an exciting time here at the ol' Revgal saloon. The swinging doors are making a racket as folks keep pouring in and beverages of welcome slide down the bar. Be sure to go around and welcome the new folks in town.

WalkingByFaithInFlipFlops: The musings of an eastern North Carolina minister. A beginner blogger who has some interesting stories to tell.

Endangered Species: Church - Come meet Erika who is a Post Modern United Methodist Pastor who is passionate about making the gospel relevant. I'm a young clergywoman working dealing with the potential extinction of my denomination...and whatever else I want to talk about. It's about ecclesiology and pop culture as I see it.

Feeding God's Sheep: Mother Schoonmaker's Blog - A compilation of the Reverend Lisa K. Schoonmaker's sermons, reflections and photography. In her own words: After 15 years as a divorce lawyer God finally grabbed me by my neck and shook me like a rag doll. "Wake up, woman. You don't seem to have gotten my gentle tappings on your shoulder from time to time, so maybe THIS will get your attention. I am CALLING you." Whew! 7 years later I was ordained to the priesthood at the age of 53. Just in time. I could have lived out my life missing the whole point!

Jubilee: Written by Rev. Maria, Pastor of a multicultural, open and affirming congregation which celebrates 50 years of ministry on October 8, 2006. As we live into our Jubilee year I find myself seeing everything as an aspect of Jubilee - rest, reflection, forgiveness, celebration and looking forward to the future.

DawgDays: Occasional confessions of a clergy spouse.

KC's Kaleidoscope: She gave up a 20-year career in journalism to pursue ministry. She's in her 40s and in seminary and coordinating pastoral care at her local church. Oh, and did we mention her husand and her 5-year-old son? Glory be!

Welcome One and All!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday Prayer

*Note: It is Thanksgiving in Canada this weekend, therefore the theme of this week's prayer...

Great and Wondrous Creator, we bring our thankfulness and praise on this special Thanksgiving Day celebration. Today we are reminded of so many blessings in life,
...not only the material gifts of food and nourishment, of harvests and plenty
...but also the less tangible gifts of support and care and love,
...of a hand to comfort and a shoulder to lean on.

We thank you for our faith, and the legacy of generations of faithful believers who have taught us about your nature and your grace simply by telling their own stories. We thank you for the courage of prophetic voices through the years who have challenged us to have an authentic faith, though not always an easy one.

We thank you for Jesus, who continues to call us to live his commandments – to love you, and to love our neighbours as ourselves.

We thank you for your church, with all of its struggles and all of its joys, we pray, guide us by your Spirit’s strength to live faithfully in your name. Bless our journey together.

We raise up to you all those who are in special need of your grace today. God, we pray, bless them all. Give your strength where it is needed, and bring comfort and healing to all in need of your divine touch.

Loving God, hear these and all our prayers, for they are offered with thankfulness and praise, in the name of Jesus. Amen.


Don't forget the Wednesday Festival: it's easy! Anyone can play!

All you have to do is click on the hyperlinked words: RevGal Wednesday Festival to create a mail message to the Festival team.

Nominations should be from your own blog or another RGBP ring member's. Please include a brief description of the post (a sentence is fine!) and the URL for the post, too!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Eleventh Hour Preachers, Enter Here

By which I mean not that you are preaching in the eleventh hour, but rather that you are preparing your sermon at the eleventh hour.

As is typical for me, I am writing this post at an hour which is early to some but late to me, before I go to bed. I'm going apple-picking in the morning with some other clergy; anyone care for a bushel or two? By some miracle, I am done writing my sermon for this week, but I'm sure it will be significantly tweaked throughout the day, not to mention in the pulpit. I'm talking about *Jaws music plays in the background* suffering and evil.

For those of you who didn't have a sudden rush of inspiration on Friday afternoon, I leave a table set with plenty of coffee and warm apple cider donuts. It's fall, so apple cider donuts are an absoulute necessity. Bring your mugs, bring your goodies, bring your ideas, and bring your obstacles. Bring your dogs, literal or metaphorical, mangy or sleek and shiny. Pull up a chair, and make yourselves at home. We're all in this together - even those of us who, completely out of character, finished our sermons on Friday this week. Party on, preachers. I'll be back later with apples, and probably more donuts as well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Friday Five: Civic Duties

It's that season of the year when lawn signs are sprouting as surely as flowers in the spring; elections are just around the corner. And so today we bring you a Civic Duty Friday Five.

1) How old were you when you voted for the first time?

2) What was the contest at the top of the ballot?

3) Can you walk to your polling place?

4) Have you ever run for public office?

5) Have you run for office in a club or school or on a board?

As always, let us know if you played, and a big group hug for all those who link directly:
<a href=>what you want the link to say</a>

I hope this will serve as a reminder of our upcoming RevGalBlogPals, Inc. elections. If you would like to participate in the formation of our non-profit board, please read more about it here. And we promise you faithfully, NO HANGING CHADS!!!!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Ask the Matriarch: Time to Grow

Sorry I'm late, gang! I spent the past hour on the phone with David Allen, the author of the RevGal-blessed book Getting Things Done, and he really appreciates the feedback that so many of you have been helped by his book. I'll be sure to bring some of the points he touched on back to you once I have a chance to go through the interview. Good stuff.

On to this week's question!

I've been serving a small church for several years, and it seems the time to go is probably not too far in the future. On my side, I'm pretty sure I feel God nudging me to go elsewhere. On theirs, it has become clear that the church really cannot support a fulltime clergyperson. But because I am reluctant to move my family, I've been hedging about looking seriously for the next call.

Now we are reaching a point where push may come to shove, and the financial needs may come to a crisis before *I* am ready to go. If that proves to be the case, I want to go graciously and not make the church members feel worse than they need to feel. But I also don't want to be so concerned about them that I don't look after my own interests.

Do you have any advice about the way you lead up to leaving? *Is* it possible to bolster those you leave behind while watching out for yourself at the same time?

~Growing by Going

Ooh, I hear ya. I've been discerning a stirring as well, wanting to grow, and not sure if that desire for personal growth might trump the people with whom I work. So I've been tidying up my resume, keeping my eyes open, and when something really stirs me to do so, I put my name on the table. Lo and behold if Abi didn't echo this nearly verbatim: "When I served as a Chaplain, our Boss encouraged to keep our resume fresh, keep our options open, and not to be afraid to interview for positions."

It's really difficult to pack up and move when you have a family involved. My son went through four school changes in 18 months when I made a professional and personal decision to move to Virginia, and the move didn't go smoothly. The reason he lives with his dad right now is that I still don't have a permanent home and he's stable for the next couple of years, at least. That stability is so important to our kids, and I hate the fact that my choice to move a couple of years ago has cost me that stability. At the same time, I'm stuck in my current location until he's out of high school because I don't want to be toooooo far away. Ugh. So I understand a lot of that.

Trust your instincts
I had this conversation with someone earlier today when I discovered I had an instinct that she had just confirmed. But both Jan and Abi agree: If you sense it is time to move on, then it's likely a nudge from God—explore it! "I would encourage you to not wait until it is too late," says Abi. "Put yourself in a proactive stance." Jan agrees, saying, "This can take a while, so get started now. Get that resume out there and start searching! Sounds like God is calling you."

Meeting both needs
"Yes, I think you can encourage them and take care yourself as well," says Abi. "Celebrate their strengths, their accomplishments, their pluses. Encourage them that they will be okay, because they are serving God and God is watching out over them. They are not going through this alone. God has given them gifts and graces."

In the meantime, continue to pray, discern, talk to your trusted centers. Abi suggests that you try writing a letter to God as a form of prayer, releasing the congregation to God.

And here are Jan's additional insights on the small-church equation:
Dear Gracious One,
Small, can-barely-afford-a-pastor congregations tend to have a low self-image, and so I see your concern. You love them. You want to encourage them. But you need to search for a new call. Your small church will be fine. Maybe they need a new call also—to become several house churches? Yoked with a neighboring congregation?

Just as The Church of Jesus Christ in general is realizing the need to change paradigms (from 1950s to a 1st century/21st century blend perhaps), your small church might need for you to leave before they realize how seriously they need to change.

Now, one of the pratfalls of our being anonymous here is that we don't know all the variables involved in why they can't afford a full-time pastor, whether demographics are changing, Jan notes. "Are they stuck in patterns that keep them from growing? Or are they happy being 'small' albeit 'poor'?" she writes. It isn't that these really change or influence the answer to the question so much as they are things you may want to consider in how you make the transtion.

Speaking of transitions
This is a transition! To Abi's list of helpful web links.

East Ohio UMC Conference has a Move Pack (pdf) that you may find helpful in this preparation time.

From the Presbyterian Church:
Separation Ethics: When Pastor and Congregation Say Good-bye (pdf, 2003)
Separation Ethics: When Pastor and Congregation Say Good-bye (pdf, 2004)

From the Illinois Baptist State Association:
How to Say Goodbye (pdf)

From Christianity Today's Leadership Journal:
When It's Time to Leave

Other (NonRevGalBlogPal) Bloggers in the Boat, spotted in the wild (and your mileage may vary, as these are male-centric posts):
Expository Thoughts

To all of us feeling the stirring of restlessness in our hearts, I offer up a prayer that God will help us find our path if we don't know it, and guide our steps upon it once we do. Amen!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wednesday Festival

Good Morning revgalblogpals, have you had your coffee yet? If not come join in the nines in what she calls “Presbyterian Holy Water” and Talk with the Pastor as she muses about the therapy of coffee or the walk to go get the coffee. I myself am having my second cup as I write this.

Rainbow Pastor waxes in prose about the Fall season.

Faith Musing writes about the blessing of living into the now, the moment that God gives us.

Here are some sermons that were nominated for the festival: Good in Parts shares her sermon that she wrote on dedication Sunday "Story of a Church". Ministrare offers his sermon called "Forward with a Broken Heart". Nachfolge posts his sermon on “Part of the Stumbling Rumble.”

Winged Man, one of our newest members has a post on cleaning the bathroom with a new or ancient slant

This one from reverend mommy is especially for the students among us, for anyone that has a project due, a sermon to write, or required reading.

Conjectural Navel Gazing talks about salvation in three part harmony to a bunch of his fellow liberal nutjobs. It makes for interesting community. 1. the lead tenor the sermon 2. the barritone a quotation and 3. the bass a musing.

Shield the Joyous has a good post about women being ordained in the church.

And I invite you to read my post on A fundraiser, with a lesson to be learned.

See Through Faith has two posts for us to read: First she is having fun with her new cell group of internationals, and good things are happening with them. 2nd. Her post titled marinating in the word goes from dog vomit to needing inspiration from God.

What does one say or do about a serious tragedy in our country?
Preacher, Blogger or Procrastinator offers a prayer and thoughts. The Quixotic Pastor offers her thought on the shooting in Amish country. My backyard writes about the shooting, but also the Amish spirituality and community. Set Free picks up on how God is being blamed for the shooting. Praying on the Prairie blogs about the shootings taking the angle of the stigma of mental illness with a personal revelation. Cathy Knits writes about her sadness over the shootings. Don’t Eat Alone blogs about the missed point about the shootings. He may be on to something. Reverend mother asks the question what is with the world today in her post titled !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. The exclamation points alone say it all.
And as for the other tragedy/travesty going on in our country; one of our newest bloggers, Sexuality and Religion : What’s the Connection?, has three posts on the ex congressman Foley. 1. Foley resigns , 2. More on Foley, and 3. Foley Part Three. And these are not in harmony.
St John's Rev Abi has two posts on Foley gate, and the quickly unfolding story.
Now in closing with something uplifting; the nomination for the picture of the week is preacher, blogger, or procrastinator .
Enjoy your coffee as you read the various nominations for Wednesday Festival.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Tuesday Lectionary Leanings

It's good to be back from vacation and back in the swing of things. While I was away I got a new blog home, and some fine revgals filled in for me. Many thanks to Songbird and Reverend Mommy!

Now, on to the Lectionary for this week.

I have a treatment of Job that I might re-work. This seems especially appropriate in light of the events of this week. I don't often try to conciously link two passages, preferring to let each passage stand on its own; but the Hebrews line "What are human beings that God is mindful of them?" question seems to be one that might be worth tackling.

What are you wrestling with this week?

Monday, October 02, 2006


Yes, you may now pay your RevGalBlogPal Membership dues by PayPal! First, please return your application form by e-mail, and then click the Pay Now button in the sidebar. Dues are $25 for regular members, $10 for students, and $0 for persons in religious orders with a vow of poverty (so, those folks won't pay anything by PayPal, natch).

Membership will of course remain open, but if you would like to participate in our First Annual Meeting, you must join by Friday, October 13th.

We will receive nominations for the Board until midnight E.S.T., October 22nd. We'll include everyone who is nominated on the proxy ballot this time. We encourage self-nominations! If someone is nominated by others, then we'll have to get their consent to include them on the ballot. Nominations may be sent to RevGalBlogPals.

On October 24, proxy ballots will be emailed to all members. Your returned ballot enables the Directors to vote on your behalf.

On October 27, your current “starter” board will meet electronically and count the ballots.

On October 30, the membership will be informed by email of results of the election, which will also be posted on the blog.

The Board we elect will consist of seven Directors, who will later choose among themselves the four officers required by the by-laws: President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer.

The work of the WebRing and the envisioned future efforts of RevGalBlogPals, Inc., are not and cannot be the work of three or seven people. Thanks to all who have been part of the ring from the beginning and those who have joined along the way. Working together, and with the help of God, we can continue to build community in new ways.

Grace and Peace,

Songbird, Quotidian Grace and Mary Beth

Hey, did you meet... now go and greet!

don't eat alone: thoughts on food, faith, family, & friends; I'm trained as both an English teacher and a minister and am working out my calling as a chef and a writer. I'm the grateful spouse of a UCC minister and lover of two wonderful Schnauzers. - Apparently this is the place to score some great recipes!

Thoughts from the Heart on the Left: These are my thoughts about where the world is headed. Virginian by birth, I have made over forty moves in my life. This has allowed me to see various parts of the country and the world and it has helped give me an insight into the same. My first posting to this site gives an explanation of what I believe.

Homeschooling the Doctorate?: Sarah is a knitting, gardening, singing, cooking, homeschooling-mama, ordination track doctoral student in Theology and Ethics. Stephen is running, basketballing, Theology doctoral student-pastor, who is jealous that he can't collect hobbies the way his wife does. Isaac reads, swims, rides bikes, and asks God why he had to be born to a clergy couple with an unhealthy interest in metaphysics.

And if you want more from where that comes from check out:

Christian Ethics, PhD: Sarah is currently a doctoral student in Christian Theology and Ethics, and a Confirmed Candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church. Ostensibly, she is interested in the constructed meaning and experience of suffering as an unarticulated foundation of bioethical commitments. Really, she just likes reading and thinking about stuff.

Shawna R. B. Atteberry: I am an ordained minister and freelance writer who lives in Chicago. I like to write about how God is active in our everyday, run-of-the-mill world. I think theology is our daily relationship with God, and how the Divine is always working to love and redeem us.

Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection?: I'm a minister and a sexologist. Yes, those words do go together! I am also the director of the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. I hope you'll join me in exploring the connection between sexuality, religion, and spirituality, and the need for sexual justice in our faith communities and society.

Tangled Up in Blue: Thoughts and ramblings from an old soul, dressed up as a middle-aged suburban Chicago woman whom God created lesbian, still discerning God's call while denied ordination in her denomination because of being partnered. Recently discovered the cathartic powers of listening to Maria Callas. (See what I mean about rambling?) To God, in all her manifestations, be the glory.

With the recent influx we are still focusing on Phase 1 - the introduction. We will focus more on Phase 2 - Getting to know you at another time. Be sure to visit these folks and welcome them all.


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Trivia Challenge - September's Winner is Dawgdays

It was neck and neck for the top of the heap for September's Trivia Challenge. However, Dawgdays took the #1 spot. And he does have a blog and so we get to go over to his blog and congratulate him!

Perhaps Dawgdays can give us a few tips in the comments as to what his strategy is. He also gets to choose a topic during the month of October!

Do you know.......
  • that almost EVERYDAY in September RevGalBlogPals was in the top 100 trivia challenges out of over 5000 active tournaments?
  • with the exception of a few topics - and we played some doozies some days, we were usually tops in our average scores compared to other groups that had the same number of players. What can I say - we are smart!
  • if you play daily, you increase the chances of having the most points (and in this game, the one with the most TOTAL points at the end of the month wins!)

Now, those of you that play know we have a shoutbox so we can moan and groan or gloat a little... I thought I would share some of the more intellectual excuses comments with you . (Commenter's names have been removed to protect the innocent).

  • How is it I do better at science than Bible?
  • i have got to get a mouse so i can scroll...Oh POOH! I knew that apostle one. DUH
  • oh, bugger. it erased one of my answers
  • DawgDays? What are we doing at the bottom? (editorial comment: see, you too can be #1 even if you ARE at the bottom for one of the challenges)
  • beat bop is just a type of beat that the 'bop it ' plays

It's fun, it's fast, and we stretch our brains with the trivia.
Would it be oh so cool if we could get enough players to play to be #1? We have enough on the ring to do it!

Now before you forget - congratulate DawgDays on his blog and THEN go play Trivia Challenge with your RGBP sisters and brothers!