For 10+ years now, I’ve been in a preaching group with 13 other clergywomen. Some of us met while we were getting our DMin degrees. Some of us met through other connections. We range from ages 40 – 62 and we have gathered in various places where somebody serves: San Francisco, Richmond, DC, Atlanta, San Antonio, suburban NYC, Asheville, Edinburgh. We share sermons, books, liturgies, hymns, articles. We drink wine and eat well.
But the most important thing we do is share our lives. Every pastor needs this. We are each other’s pastors.
This week we are in Atlanta again and we’ve planned conversations with some of the great theologians of our tradition.
Today we gathered. Tomorrow we’ll share what’s happened personally and professionally in the last year – which will take at least a whole day. I will share that I have a new call in a new city. I’ll catch them up on what my spouse and kids are doing. I’ll share the joys and burdens of my work. We’ll pray for each other.
It’s a glimpse of heaven.
The personal advice I would give any new pastor is this:
1- Hire someone to clean your house once/month.
2- Connect with a group of clergy colleagues – preferably a group that meets away from your work context for a few days each year. It could be all women or all men, or a mix. It could be a lectionary group or a book group. It could include conversations with theologians or white water rafting or making cupcakes. But try to get away and process ministry with people who are also living it. Our parishioners cannot do this with us. But we need it.
My hope is that – by the end of the week – we will have decided to go to Chicago in 2013.
Imagine of The Preaching Roundtable 2010.