Throughout my childhood, our family revered a particular Pastor’s Family who were family friends. They were Perfect. The father was left a legacy of warm pastoral leadership wherever he went. The mother raised a large family alone with a gracious smile. The kids were lively and fun. We learned later that the Perfect Pastor’s Family experienced all the frustrations, brokenness, and burdens as everyone else. Either we didn’t want to see it or they didn’t want to disclose it.
Katherine Willis Pershey has disclosed one normal pastor’s family experiences in the first years of ministry.
Everybody has a Call Story – even if you are a secular person and don’t articulate your story as such. All of us in professional ministry – especially clergywomen – have stories to share beyond our Call to Ministry Story. The juicier stories are actually about what happened after we followed that Call. Katherine’s version involves real life struggles that will inform anyone who wants to know “what it’s really like” out there in the parish. Or at least at the pastor’s house.
Her version involves addiction, marital struggles, and the exhaustion that comes with juggling relationships and work. This is an especially excellent read for seminarians, young clergywomen, and anyone who longs for a rich life in the throes of real life. Read it.