Amanda Riley was signing books at GA 220 last week and I took a quick glance at the book she wrote with Melissa DeRosia, Marianne Grano, and Amy Morgan and thought, “Why didn”t we write this book a couple decades ago?” Actually, this is better than any book I could have written. It’s thorough – with information for young married, single, solo, associate, pregnant, and/or exhausted clergywomen.
I was once a young single clergywoman (ages 27-31) and then a young married clergywoman (age 31), then a pregnant clergy woman (32, 34, 36), and then a clergy mom (the rest of my life) and this resource would have been mighty helpful to me and my clergy girlfriends. Today, as I work with an broader spectrum of seminarians (variety of ages and backgrounds) this is still a great resource.
Attention Commissions on Preparation for Ministry: this book should be given to all women seminarians preparing to serve the parish.
Attention all Pastor Nominating Committees and Church Personnel Committees: this book should be read by at least one person on your team to that you have a glimpse of what it’s really like to be a pastor – especially a female pastor.
One thing I would alter:
- The use of the word “minister.” I am (obnoxiously) adamant about using the terms “pastor” or “clergy” or “professional minister” to describe what we do, rather than the word “minister.” To call a pastor “the minister” is ruinous to the concept of the priesthood of all believers and the notion that a pastor’s job is to equip God’s people for ministry. We are all ministers. We do ministry in gardens, in grocery stores, on street corners, on tractors, in classrooms, etc. etc. You know this. The long-term destruction to congregations and everyone’s daily theology that comes from calling the clergy “the minister” comes from a 1950s mentality.
So, there you have it. Buy and read this book. It’s beautifully written and full of wisdom.
The best wisdom I received before my ordination, which I didn’t find in the book and which is especially helpful for single pastors living in small towns:
At the end of the interview, when the committee asks, “Do you have any questions or comments for us?” you say this:
“Because I am single and don’t know anyone around here, sometimes people will visit me at the manse. Some of them will be family and some will be friends. Some will be married and some will be single. Some will be male and some will be female. I just want you to know that it will be important for me to have people visit me.” This suggested statement (thank you CMD) made life extraordinarily easier for me as I served in a small village of 700 people in a manse on Main Street. People came and went and nobody said a word except, “I see you had company.”
It really helped. And this book will help you or someone in professional ministry that you care about.