28 August 2006

Ooooph... that hurts...

From an interesting and very personally resonant article in the New York Times...
For the most part, congregations want a young married man with children, according to research Ms. Lummis conducted in 2001. “The whole demographic image of a pastor had not changed much since the 1950’s,” she said.

Smaller, poorer congregations will hire a woman, but often, only grudgingly, clergy members said.

“When we met with the search committee in Louisville, people on it said to me, ‘We really didn’t want a woman, because we know that we’re dying when we get a woman,’” the Rev. Lucia Oerter said of her experience at John Knox Presbyterian in Louisville three and half years ago.


Ugh. Not sure if anyone would admit it here, but I'd say this feeling is probably pretty close to the surface in Rock Falls, IL, too...

9 comments:

revabi said...

Hi April, Thanks for visiting my blog, and commenting. I had not thought about the fact that women do politics differently as part of the picture as well.

You can hijack my posts anytime you want.

I too know what it is like to be alone and isolated from peers. Glad you found me from the Psalmist. Hope you followed her and I over to you'll find a variety of people from all different denominations. If you like it you are welcome to join through ringsurf.

But come back again. I bookmarked your blog and will be visiting off and on.

peacepastor said...

April,

When I was in seminary, I did a group project on women in ministry within the Church of the Brethren. One of the worst comments I remember reading was from some country church member who honestly responded, "I'd rather have a man that weren't so good than a woman, even if she were good." Part of me wanted to cry; another part got mad and thought I'd never want to go to that congregation anyway; a third part gave me that much more desire to live as authentically as I can to my call.

At other times, I have heard congregations say, "We had a woman once, and it didn't work out well, so we're not going to try that again." How many times has a congregation said,"Well, we had a man pastor, and it just didn't work out. Let's have a woman from now on!"

On more positive notes, I heard a young girl who had only experienced female pastors exclaim, "You mean men can be pastors too?"

Further, when a friend (also a pastor) asked in a children's story how God calls people to ministry, her 4 year old daughter responded (very seriously), "Well, She just flies up to the person and tells them."

There are ugly stories, but there's also hope.

Thanks for visiting my blog. It's always nice to have guests.

tonia said...

Saw this today and thought of you:

http://www.jesuscreed.org/?p=1400

April said...

Tonia...
THANK YOU for this link. I am wading through comments. VERY interesting stuff.

Lorna said...

interesting thoughts. welcome to rev gals

Anonymous said...

I don't know about the rest of the church, but I look for a woman pastor not because we are dying, but because I want to get married...

xoxoxo
Dennis

April said...

It was all just part of your plan, eh? Thanks, love. It's worked out pretty well for me, too.

Psalmist said...

Oooh...how SWEET! (grinning)

Anonymous said...

it has become my hope that more and more female ministers like my friend april---who are 'kick-ass' ministers---will begin to show those churches that you mention, the real story...and perhaps over time the tide will change and they will in fact be the ones who will have had the best experience of the minister of all. and now that i think of it, when i think of all my minister friends, in my observation, i don't think any of the males hold a candle to those who are female. if paul and his country church followers would only know that too.

jes.