Voice for progressive clergy
re-activated in Nashville

Nashville clergy re-activate the Covenant Association, originally formed to be a meeting place and voice for social justice oriented clergy who don't endorse conservative politics. The Tennessean reports:

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What's a non-believing pastor to do?

A fascinating report titled "Pastors Who Are Not Believers" was released in March. Here is its setup.

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Clergy search: thou shall not google?

The internet and search engines have changed the possibilities for spreading rumors at the same time they opens up the possibility of finding information relevant to clergy search committees. Carol Howard Merritt, author of "Tribal Church" (Alban), offers some thoughts:

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Being a post-modern clergy spouse

In Oprah Magazine, writer (and clergy spouse), Andrew Corsello reflects on the changes that came when he and his family moved from Virginia to California and when his wife, the Rev. Dana Corsello, became the first female rector of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in San Francisco:

She's a Big Cheese. (He's a Little Annoyed.)
In Oprah Magazine

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Upper SC Cathedral dean suspended

Dean of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina suspended by the new bishop:

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The problem of clergy burnout

Writing in The New York Times, Paul Vitello surveys the landscape of clergy life and finds that it is not a pretty picture:

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Sentences to ponder, clergy wellness edition

We found that pastors' health was worse off across the board than the populations where they serve. Their rates of obesity were about 10 percent higher. We looked at other kinds of chronic diseases. High blood pressure rates were about four percent higher, asthma rates also about four percent higher. Their diabetes rates are about three percent higher than other North Carolinians.

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Share your thoughts on clergy health and burnout

Please share with us your thoughts on clergy health and burnout. It's easy and anonymous. Go here to give us your thoughts.

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Priest-in-Charge? Rector? What's in a title?

Elizabeth Kaeton's playing trendspotter. She's thinking about who's got what title in The Episcopal Church, and what some of the critical distinctions between them might be - and, so long as we're on the subject, from where (or whom) those distinctions arise.

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Are we scapegoating our clergy?

Recently there have been a plethora of articles on clergy and the congregations they serve. Some are concerned with burn out, some are blaming clergy or bishops, some are blaming congregations for whatever is troubling in today's churches:

The Rev. Nigel Taber-Hamilton wonders:

Are we scapegoating our clergy?

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CREDO and clergy wellness

A letter from Herb Gunn, director of communication for CREDO, an Episcopal wellness project for church leaders. He reflects on the current news about clergy and congregations and stress:

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Liturgy and touch and sexual exploitation

Dr. Maria Evans, who writes and reflects at the blog Kirkepiscatoid, explores the subject of touch in church, especially as related to clergy.

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More young people entering ministry

A study reported on in USA Today has found that more young people are exploring careers in ministry just at the same time that a wave of Baby Boomer ministers are retiring. USA Today calls this "prayers being answered" for churches across the land.

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The clergy burnout debate continues

The New York Times ran a crop of letters yesterday in which writers responded to the Times' recent story and op-ed piece about clergy burnout. This one came from Bonnie Anderson, President of the Episcopal Church's House of Deputies:

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Irish Catholic reform priests: small group, big dreams

An Anglican, a former Archbishop of Dublin, has expressed his support for the formation of a Catholic association of Irish priests.

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Haggard, Armstrong may be closer than you think

The Colorado Springs Gazette's Mark Barna has a point: both Rev. Don Armstrong and his Springs-based compatriot Ted Haggard have evinced "an ability to inspire congregants."

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Episcopal clergy wellness program featured on PBS

Religion and Ethics Newsweekly is the latest mainstream media outlet to take an interest in the clergy stress story that has already been featured in The New York Times and on National Public Radio. If we are not mistaken, this particular piece is set at a CREDO conference, although, disappointingly, CREDO isn't mentioned.

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Catholic priest dies during Mass

A Catholic priest from Florida died during the celebration of the Mass on Friday, AP reports.

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Boning up on casting out: Catholic priests learn exorcism

Roman Catholic bishops hosted an event ending yesterday that taught priests how to perform exorcisms. It's been reported that 56 bishops and 66 priests attended.

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Jeffrey John on Colin Slee: 'always surprisingly un-scared'

Jeffrey John preached the funeral of Colin Slee yesterday. Here is the text of that sermon.

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Calling clergy

The Episcopal Church's Office of Public Affairs has issued a press release on the church's Office of Transition Ministry which you can read below. I am wondering if it provides an opportunity for a Cafe community conversation about what the release refers to as the "calling process." How do priests end up where they end up? How well is this process working? How could it be improved?

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"Clergy Women: An Uphill Calling"

A group of sociologists associated with Hartford Seminary has published the results of study of clergy women in the Presbyterian Church that revisits a study done in 1993-1994 to see what is now different in their career and career paths.

The conclusions of the most recent study are presented in 5-fold order:

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The pastor as detective

Bruce Epperly, in this week's missive from the Alban Institute says:

New pastors are most successful in the transition from seminary to their first congregation when they expect and accept imperfection as an essential ingredient in the art of ministry.

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The Facebook double life

Might it be a good thing if clergy (or other quasi-public figures) keep two Facebook identities? What might they (we!?) have to hide? Or, is it perhaps just about boundary-setting? What do you think? Should we have one Facebook account for the public side of our life and another for the private?

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The GOE is dead; Long live the GOE?

This being the first full week of the new year, Episcopal Church senior seminarians are hunkering down to take the GOEs. Don't know what this means? Well, the GOEs are the General Ordination Exams which have been administered each year since 1972 by the by the General Board of Examining Chaplains to those who are in the ordination process for the priesthood.

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Seven resolutions for clergy

Ron Crawford offers up his advice for New Year's Resolutions for Ministers. What are yours?

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Clergy and abstinence

The Rev. Lesley Fellows who writes at Lesley's Blog reflects on the dilemma of single clergy as raised by the Rev. Astrid Storm at Salon. Fellows writes her experience:

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Alberto Cutié to have talk show on FOX

The New York Magazine reports that Episcopal priest, the Rev. Aberto Cutié, also known as 'Padre Beto', will return to television this summer.

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Study of women clergy released

Church Pension Group releases study on the last 3+ decades of female priests, deacons and bishops:

Called to Serve Study
From CPG Press Release

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Leadership or authority?

Writing for the Alban Institute, Dan Hotchkiss says:

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Retiring but not shy: long goodbye begins for Colorado's Cooley

The Rev. Andrew Cooley, rector of St. Mark's, Durango, CO, recently announced an impending retirement date of May 1. In response, The Durango Herald offered something you don't see much of anymore - a comprehensive and humanely written retirement announcement.

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MA priest defrocked after sexual-abuse charges revealed

From boston.com:

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Deacons' organization announces new name

The Association for Episcopal Deacons (AED) is the new name of the group formerly known as North American Association for the Diaconate (NAAD):

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Minister moms multitask

This article about about women who have children and have made the ordination vow has popped up in enough places it seems appropriate that our readers should give their take.

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The Church Pension Fund & the College for Bishops: questions that need answers

The news last week that the College for Bishops was launching a $15 million capital campaign to assure its future was greeted by an unusually large number of negative comments here on the Café, as well as on our Facebook page. More of that negativity was directed at the bishops than seemed fair to me. I am returning to the issue not to suggest that the bishops are blameless, but to because I think it provides a useful opportunity to examine how decisions get made, money gets spent, and interests get met in our church.

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What do you want? (clergy-spouse edition)

Perusing one of your typical let's-get-an-article-in-the-paper notices concerning the ordination of Roxane Gwyn to the priesthood in Fuquay-Varina / Holly Springs, North Carolina (it sounds like it was a hoot by the way), I spied the following in the interview.

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New clergy and that first call

Writing for the Alban Weekly, Bruce G. Epperly says:

I often tell new pastors that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint.

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'... that God loved them precisely as they were'

Why is it that when we talk about clergy ethics, we tend to think about the kinds of behaviors in which clergy should *not* be involved, rather than the kinds of moral stands they should take?

From the Jesus in Love Blog:

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Struggling with Parkinsons, priest fights back

Freelance radio reporter Jesse Hardman has lovingly profiled his father, The Rev. Bob Hardman, whose Parkinsons has been debilitating, yet unable so far to stifle his will.

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Former National Cathedral staffer to hold Lexington deanship

Christ Church Cathedral in Lexington, Kentucky, has announced the selection of former Washington National Cathedral staff member Rev. Canon Carol L. Wade as its next dean.

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Are pastors "experts"?

Writing for the Alban Institute, Landon Whitsitt asks some provocative questions: to what extent are clergy "experts" at running a parish, and why don't search processes focus much on a candidate's administrative skills?

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Citing harassment from within ranks, gay Australian priest calls it quits

Rev. Ali Wurm, an openly gay priest who served St. Bede's in the city of Adelaide in southern Australia, recently gave up her post as Priest-In-Charge, acknowledging what seems to be a general failure of acceptance of her life - not just from some church members, but also among fellow clergy, if not within the fuller hierarchy of her diocese.

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Clergy in same sex relationships required to marry?

Mary Frances Schjonberg, Episcopal News Service, rounds up the news on the changes to the Church Pension Group benefit plans for married same sex couples as well as bishops' reactions to changes in marriage equality laws:

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The problem with preaching

The Rev. Mary M. Brown of the Odyssey Networks summarizes the findings of a Lilly Foundation-funded study on preaching in an article for the Huffington Post:

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Prayers for Kenneth Leech

Word comes that priest, writer, and advocate Kenneth Leech is ill:

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The Bible is no bludgeon - Rev. Peter D'Angio

Rich Howells profiles The Rev. Peter D’Angio, the openly gay rector of St. Luke's in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on everything from gay marriage to what the Bible says about homosexuality.

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PBS examines mainline clergy wellness

Deborah Potter filed an insightful report on clergy wellness for Religion Ethics Newsweekly in October, and PBS liked it well enough to rebroadcast it last weekend. It features the Rev. Joseph Stewart-Sicking, an Episcopal priest who teaches pastoral counseling, and includes a visit to a CREDO conference at the Lake Logan Episcopal Center in North Carolina. We like it well enough to rebroadcast it, too.

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Stolen Rembrandt found in Episcopal priest's office

UPDATED - see below
The Los Angeles Times reports:

An L.A. County Sheriff's official confirmed Tuesday that deputies recovered a stolen Rembrandt from the pastor's office of an Episcopal church in Encino.

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You remember a little ... I'll add a piece

On his blog Becoming, hospice physician and Episcopal priest Steve Thomason recounts some of his memories of what happened at the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest on 9/11/2001.

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'Forgiveness is a trainable life skill'

Rev. Lyndon Harris, who was the priest at St. Paul's Chapel (across Church Street from the World Trade Center) on September 11, 2001, reflects on his process so far and has some things to say about forgiveness.

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Archbishop of Canterbury on Fresh Expressions and clergy

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams sends a video greeting to the Vital Church Planting Conference on September 5.

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Preachers and the Great Recession: What to say?

Okay, pulpit-ascenders and sermon-attenders: Read the following and tell me if it's anything like your experience:

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The girlfriends' clergy companion

When I started seminary and began envisioning myself as a clergyperson, I started looking at the style of women pastors, particularly women head pastors. And I noticed that virtually without exception, they had “The Haircut.” The Don’t-Think-of-Me-as-a-Woman-Think-of-Me-as-a-Pastor haircut.

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In Fort Worth, a dozen clergy to the rescue

From the YouTube channel for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth:

Twelve retired clergy came out of retirement to serve congregations that had lost their church homes in a schism. The Diocese of Fort Worth says thank you.

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20% of seminarians are over 50. Is this a good thing?

From CNN:

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Prayers for GOE takers

The General Ordination Examinations begin this week. What was your experience? Stories of terror or humor? What strategies do you suggest for getting through the week? For test takers and spouses/partners?

In light of the discussions about the future of the church what is your opinion of the Exams? Do you think the exams make any difference to the church? or are they one more form of "hazing" and "hoops"? for those seeking ordination?

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National Cathedral appoints interim dean

The Rev. Dr. Francis H. Wade will serve as interim dean of Washington National Cathedral, Episcopal News Service reports.

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More conversation from comments on The Lead

There have been some very thoughtful comments lately on The Lead as we think about the future of the church. In addition to sincerely thanking those who have taken the time to read and respond, we thought it might be informative to look closely at some of the comments.

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Jobless clergy seek the right fit

Columbus Dispatch writer Meredith Heagney has filed a story about the impact of the current economic climate on pastors.

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Is our deployment system broken?

Here at the Cafe, we are trying to mix more conversation about the future of the Episcopal Church, and other profound issues, such as whether squirrels go to heaven, into our usual mix of faith-related news. Last week, a post from Scott Gunn at Seven Whole Days, caught our eye. He listed a number of things in the Episcopal Church that need fixing, prominent among them the way in which parishes select clergy.

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'Religion can be beautiful': A pastor responds to 'Jesus>Religion'

On Friday we posted a video - "Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus" - that had been making the electronic rounds lately. It created a good conversation when it landed here.

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Bill Tully says goodbye to St. Bart's

The New York Times offers a retrospective on the tenure of the Rev. Bill Tully on the occasion of his retirement as rector of St. Bartholomew's Church in New York City.

The story begins:

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Clergy burnout: what causes it, how do you avoid it?

The Florida Times-Union published a lengthy story yesterday on clergy burnout and how to avoid it. The story quotes these troubling statistics: 80 percent of clergy say their job negatively affects their families and almost 60 percent say they would leave ministry if they had another vocation.

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'God wants more Jonahs': Bill Tully on spiritual community

After 18 years as Rector of St. Bart's in New York, and following on an announcement made last year, Bill Tully has retired. His final sermon there was a meditation on Jonah and its very real implications for the maintenance of spiritual community for today.

He concluded, in part:

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Houston priest learning the sweet science

Rev. Patrick Miller, rector of St. Mark's, Houston, has been a student of boxing since 2007, and as the Houston Chronicle reports, he's striving to integrate lessons learned in the ring with those acquired in the process of his work.

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Are isolated clergy less effective?

A Harris poll of CEOs reveals what many have said for a long time - that it's lonely at the top - but adds that isolation hinders performance.

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The first ten years in a congregation

Lots of folks could benefit from an Alban Institute tract by Israel Galindo from 2004 that's been electronically promoted. It's called "Staying Put: A Look at the First 10 Years of Ministry."

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Losing their faith

What happens when clergy lose their faith? It happens more often than most people might think. Most clergy have to struggle with un-belief at one point or another during seminary. Not all resolve the question before they are ordained. Often time the situation returns again and again; at least according to other clergy that I speak with informally.

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Ashes to Go: how'd it go?

On the Christian Century's blog, Amy Frykholm muses about Ashes to Go.

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Punk drummer turns priest

Edward Guthman of the San Francisco Chronicle has the story of a former punk rock drummer who became an priest:

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Episcopal priest to Catholics: Let's trade

Rev. Matthew Lawrence, rector of the Church of the Incarnation in Santa Rosa, Calif., proffers a bargain to the Vatican: Roman Catholics can have disaffected Episcopalians if we can have disaffected Roman Catholics.

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Jeffrey John's interview

Thinking Anglicans offers the full text of the recent interview between Times reporter Ruth Gledhill and The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey John, dean of St. Albans.

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Clergy sexual abuse: how should it be disclosed to the church?

This may be a matter that is of narrow concern, but I would like to seek the wisdom of our readers on this nonetheless. I’ve had professional reasons in recent years to make a bit of informal study of how various churches, dioceses and parishes have handled the difficult task of informing members about instances of clerical sexual abuse. There don’t seem to be any agreed upon best practices, and it seems that there should be.

I am aware of instances in which church leaders have made a full disclosure of the nature and scope of the abuse (withholding certain details so as not to become too clinical, but conveying just how serious was the nature of the abuse), apologized to the community for this breech of trust, asked other victims to come forward, and promised to keep the community apprised of future developments.

I am also aware of church leaders who have not informed their church communities of the abuse and simply let them learn about it through the mainstream media.

And, finally, I am aware of church leaders who do their damnedest to suppress as much information as possible.

Assuming that a parish, a diocese, or the folks at church center are in possession of corroborated reports of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy or a bishop, how fully and through what channels should they release this information?

I would especially like to hear from members of Episcopal Communicators on this issue, and we can be more liberal than we usually are in granting our commentors' anonymity if that makes it easier for them to tell their stories.

What makes a competent priest?

The Anglican Church of Canada is developing a set of competencies for priesthood. They will be used in the formation and evaluation of priests.

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Paris in the springtime

We don't usually post job openings, but one of these days, the Cafe is going to start raising some money, and it occurred to us that if the new dean of the American Cathedral in Paris first learned about that opening on our site, he or she might be of a mind to be generous.

Clergy who lose their faith

What happens when the religious leader in a community loses their belief in God? For some it's a secret they hide. For others it means the end of their vocation. For some it's a temporary thing. And for some it's become a reason to seek support from others in a similar state.

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"Where have all the Rectors gone?"

I attended a clericus meeting in Arizona today. One of the topics that came up in our free ranging discussion was the changes that have happened to small to medium size churches that used to be able to employ a full time seminary trained priest. What used to be the most common model of parish ministry has become almost a rarity.

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RC diocese seeks to turn three Episcopal priests into lay persons

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown wants to declare that three Episcopal priests, who were received from the Catholic Church, are lay people.

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Historic ordinations at St Matthew's, Fairbanks, Alaska

From a press release from the Diocese of Alaska:

This Sunday, May 27, 2012, The Rt. Rev. Mark Lattime, Episcopal Bishop of Alaska, will ordain to the Priesthood Bella Jean Savino and Shirley Lee.

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What young clergy want you to know

Pastor Keith Anderson, pastor of Upper Dublin Lutheran Church in Ambler, PA and co-author of the new book Click2Save: The Digital Ministry Bible, is a young pastor and he has listened to other young clergy about their concerns, their hopes, their fears and their wishes.

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Mother Julia: Priest, acupuncurist, Tai Chi instructor

Julia Fritts McWilliams "represents that postmodern eclectic spirit that isn’t afraid of drawing from different traditions and incorporating that into what she does," says the rector of the church where she works as a priest associate.

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How to change your vicar: part two

Bishop Alan Wilson has done it again. Late last month he checked in with a piece called "How to Change Your Vicar", an insightful meditation on priest-parish conflict. "How To Change Your Vicar: Part Two" makes the seemingly simple point that one can't remove a priest from a parish because the priest isn't doing things that priests can't be expected to do. Wilson writes:

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Rest in Peace, Rise in Glory: Rev. Terry Parsons

Word comes to us of the passing of The Rev. Terry Parsons, Rector at St. Alban's Bay City, Michigan, and former missioner for The Episcopal Church's office of Stewardship and Discipleship.

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Preaching on some tough readings

Several preachers who share their thinking and sermons online mentioned that this week's readings made challenging sermon fodder.

The Very Rev. John Downey of the Cathedral in Saint Paul in Erie, asks for help with his sermons almost every week in a You Tube feature called "This Preacher needs help." Here is what he had to say this week:

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Designer clergywear is spreading

You sometimes get the impression that vicars and priests wouldn't mind a brief sashay down the catwalk instead of the aisle, so colourful and inventive are the vestments they wear.

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Being a pastor is bad for your health

Amy Frykholm of The Christian Century surveys some of the latest data on clergy wellness and writes:

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Methodist court reaffirms guaranteed appointments

The United Methodist Church is struggling with the issue of job security for clergy. The Wall Street Journal has the story.

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Thoughts on driving into a dark Manhattan

The Rev. David Sibley who keeps the blog, Feeding on Manna, writes about his Thoughts Driving into a Dark Manhattan:

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Irresistible headline syndrome

Sorry, but when you come across this headline, you can't pass the story by.

Retired priest, 80, bit 81-year-old fellow clergyman's ear off in fight over parking space

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Do we do a good job in discerning priestly vocations?

Our item on why people don't go to church is eliciting some heartfelt comments. This one from Ben Miller speaks to what he sees as problems in the way in which we discern priestly vocations. Miller writes:

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CPG report on ordinations and clergy statistics

The Church Pension Group released its statistical report on clergy of the Episcopal Church. Key findings:

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Preaching the massacre

Updated: with this link to Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori's sermon this morning in the Diocese of Lexington. She said, in part:

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Episcopal priest Patrick Augustine receives the Cross of St. Augustine

From the LaCrosse Tribune:

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Secrets your pastor can't share in a sermon

The Rev. Gary Brinn writing in the Sayville-Bayport Patch

....This year the choir was excellent, as always, though the whole community has been struggling a bit. It isn't easy to reconcile the call to be festive with the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy, much less the massacre in Newtown. I tried to strike a balance, hope and challenge in the same homily.

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Will robots replace rectors?

This funny and provocative essay by the blogger at Stuff Wayne Writes asks us to consider whether robots will one day do the job of rectors. It concludes:

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A useful process: Priest reviews her own sermons online

The Rev. Robyn Barnes of Church of the Nativity in Helena, Mont., has taken to reviewing her own sermons in a very systematic way. She writes about this process on her blog (where she posts her reviews), providing a checklist that may be useful to other preachers:

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What makes for a good good-bye?

Rectors come and rectors go. How do you make the going good? That is the question that Mary C. Lindberg asks in Separation Anxiety, an essay on the blog of the Alban Institute. She writes:

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Forced clergy terminations

The Rev. William Doubleday, priest and professor of Pastoral Theology at GTS for many years, posted this on Facebook March 7 and it has gathered quite a bit of reposting and discussion. Continuing the discussion here, at the Café: What is your experience? As a clergy person? As a church leader?

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Interviewing via Skype

Spring seems to be the time of interviewing for new calls to churches around the country. More and more search committees are using Skype or FaceTime/iChat for initial interviews. Take this opportunity to present yourself at your best. As an interim an d often the most techy person in the area - I have had a chance to observe some of these. Often I think - what are they thinking? Bad lighting, no make up, clothes that don't fit properly, not testing one's computer and camera before the interview to name just a few things. Maybe you think being spiritual is enough - but you are applying for a leadership position and want to give people confidence in you.

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Spiritual journey brings Ann Fontaine back to the beach

I love this profile of the Rev. Ann Fontaine, devoted Café newsblogger, from the Gazette in Cannon Beach, Ore.:

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I am the vicar, I am

A poem by a Kevin Lewis from Blog of Kevin of the expectations of clergy by others and of themselves:

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The stressful life of PKs (preachers' kids_

Life behind the stereotypes for children of clergy on Religion News Service:

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Get rid of your crappy pastor

Pastor David Hanson blogs How to Get Rid of Your Crappy Pastor:

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How old is too old for ordination?

Shane Raynor offers a podcast commentary on the question of whether the Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church is making a mistake in discouraging people over the age of 45 from seeking ordination. He asks, provocatively, whether the church shouldn't be discouraging everyone who seeks ordination.

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RC nuns, priests form new 'Whistleblowers' network

The New York Times writes about "Catholic Whistleblowers, a newly formed cadre of priests and nuns who say the Roman Catholic Church is still protecting sexual predators..."

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Catholic writer Fr. Andrew Greeley dies at 85

Rest in peace, Fr. Andrew Greeley. From the National Catholic Reporter:

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Do I wear my collar into Target?

In a very creative blog post (complete with pictures!), The Rev. Heidi Haverkamp finds herself wondering about her clergy collar in a moment of decision:

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Pastor's words that liberate

Rachel Held Evans writes another top 11 list: "11 Things I Wish More Pastors Would Say". Her first three:

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Pew sees middling response on value of clergy's contributions to society

From the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life:

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Priest works to reunite divided congregation

From the Vero Beach Newsweekly:

When Father Chris Rodriguez brought his family here from New Jersey last September becoming Trinity Episcopal Church’s new rector, he discovered a congregation that was hurting and needed help.

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Women clergy: Always an associate?

The Young Clergy Women Project, Fidelia, discusses the costs and promises of being an associate:

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'Harley Hallelujahs' - Biker priests embrace motorcycle evangelism

Episcopal priests throughout the country are hitting the highway to minister to bikers. From Episcopal News Service:

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A bi-vocational pastor says it is not a cure-all

Carol Howard Merritt, a bi-vocational Presbyterian minister, notes that many pastoral positions will disappear at the same time that a huge percentage of clergy will retire. The temptation will be to depend on bi-vocational ministers to fill the gaps in both staffing and decreased money to pay salaries. She warns that dependence on bi-vocational ministers may not be the cure-all we expect it to be.

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Beard wars

Christianity Today chronicles the history of clergy beards:

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Unprepared pastors

Were you or were the clergy you know prepared for pastoring a congregation by their education? Thom S. Rainer talks about eight ares where many are unprepared for the job they are called to do:

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Increase in numbers of unpaid clergy

Religion News Service has an article by G. Jeffrey MacDonald on the recent trend of unpaid clergy in mainline denominations, with heavy focus on The Episcopal Church:

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A rector finds love at 65

A sweet story about a widow and a widower who met and married from yesterday's New York Times. The widow is Dana Fern, and the widower is the Rev. J. Douglas Ousley, rector of the Episcopal Church of the Incarnation in the Murray Hill section of Manhattan. The piece includes a description of the couples first phone call, in which Title IV, of all things, plays a role.

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The shutdown prayers of Congressional chaplains

From ABC news:

Each morning, Senate Chaplain Barry Black opens the session with a prayer to guide senators throughout their day. But from the onset of the government shutdown, Black has turned his prayers into punditry, urging Congress to find a way to reopen the government.

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Women press for change in clergy shirts, vestments

As more women become ordained companies that make clothing and vestments are changing their styles. The New York TImes reports on changes at CM Almy:

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Turning the future over to God

The Rev. Billy Doidge Kilgore writes a post on the Ministry Matters blog that says"I'm done fixing the church":

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New reality show focuses on six 'Preachers of L.A.'

Non-denominational pastor Jay Haizlip, featured in the Oxygen Network's new program "Preachers of L.A.," thinks the reality show is going to be "phenomenal for the church." Christianity Today notes that the show, "is billed as 'a rare glimpse into the lives of six high-profile pastors from Los Angeles.'

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Churches turn to part time clergy

A rising trend of non-stipendary clergy who are called from within their congregation and educated in non-traditional seminaries is noted by Christian Century:

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A Catholic priest's journey to the Episcopal priesthood

Here's the story of Chris Roussell, a former Catholic priest whose longing for a family led him to leave the Catholic priesthood, and whose subsequent journey led him back to ordained ministry in the Episcopal Church.

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New pastor ponders how to 'save' the Church

The Rev. Robyn Barnes, rector at St. Peter's Church in Edmonton, offers a compelling response to the question, "How are you going to save the Church?"

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I don't like my priest

The Rev. Tim Schenck, on his blog Clergy Family Confidential, wonders about times when we don't like our priest:

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Depression, burnout and work

A new study from Denmark, in ScienceNordic shows that working for unfair bosses in unfair systems is the main reason for depression in employees.

What does this say about the rising clergy burnout problem. Perhaps it is not overwork but an unfair system and too many bosses. Who is a priest's boss? Self? Bishop? Vestry? and is the church an unfair work environment? What can be changed?

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Clergy housing tax exemption struck down

Wisconsin State Journal reports that a federal judge has ruled that clergy housing allowances can no longer be tax exempt:

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Dear Rev. Former Pastor... about that funeral

The Rev. Sharon Temple writes to the former pastor of the church she currently serves about maintaining pastoral boundaries:

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What is it about clergy collars?

The Rev. Joanna Fontaine Crawford, Unitarian Universalist minister blogs at Boots and Blessings on what happened when she wore a clerical collar:

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Clergy fall in public perception of ethics

The Gallup Poll notes that clergy have fallen in the Honesty and Ethics ratings.

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Former pastors: Is stay away the only way?

UPDATE: The chart referred to in the article is attached below:

A couple of weeks ago The Lead featured a controversial article (Dear Rev. Former Pastor) about former pastors and contact with parishioners from the church the clergy had served. Alban Institute explores the idea further and wonders if there is a better way?

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Defining and honoring lay ministry in the church

I am struck today by Laurie Gudim's essay at Speaking to the Soul regarding lay vs. ordained ministry. This is a topic close to my heart, as a layperson doing fulltime church work. Gudim writes:

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Newark clergy propose anti-bullying by laity resolution

Four clergy from The Diocese of Newark have submitted a resolution to Diocesan Convention, asking the bishop to convene a Task Force to develop a policy to address the bullying, harassment and abuse of clergy by lay persons.

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From Weapons of Mass Destruction to the Priesthood

Fifty years ago the Rev. Wade Renn, a former employee of Boeing and the Atomic Energy Commission, decided that he needed to change paths. His new path drew him to the Episcopal priesthood:

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Hard times for seminaries and those who attend them

The rocky road facing seminaries and those seeking ordination in the mainline Protestant churches is illustrated by two recent articles.

The first, in the Christian Century lays out the problem from an institutional point of view:

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Transgender Arkansas priest asks prayers in time of transition

Stories of the announcement by the Rev. Gwen Fry of Grace Episcopal Church, Pine Bluff, Arkansas are circulating in the press and blogs. Prayers for all in this time of transition:

A letter from the Rev. Gwen Fry:

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Ladies and gentlemen: Monstrance

"They call themselves the Rectors of Rock. The Fathers of Funk. The Collar Studs."

So begins the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's story on a rock band comprising four Episcopal priests.

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Arkansas bishop dissolves relationship between transgender priest, parish

Bishop Larry Benfield of Arkansas last night dissolved the relationship between the Rev. Gwen Fry, a transgender priest, and Grace Episcopal Church in Pine Bluff. The Rev. Fry, who had previously been known as Greg, had informed the congregation on Sunday, that she was in transition.

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Is there a place in the church for clergy who have lost their faith?

On Faith discusses a book and study on clergy who have lost their faith but have continued to preach. Is there a place of them in the church? And how can the church support them in their faith crisis?

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Disruptive forces in church leadership development

Faith and Leadership

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What Should Clergy Know?

Last week, the Cafe published Laurie Brock's piece about what needs to die so that the Church might find reinvigorated life. Among the items she listed was our propensity to ordain people just because they were 'nice', and not because they evidenced any of the skills that made people effective priests.

In a stab at what those skills might be, comes this article from Congregational Consulting.

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Cameron Partridge first openly transgender priest to preach at Washington National Cathedral

On June 22nd, the Washington National Cathedral will celebrate Pride Month by featuring the Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge as the first openly transgender priest to preach in the history of the cathedral. In a statement to the Huffington Post, Dean Gary Hall says:

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Are pastors in crisis? If so, why?

Here are some depressing numbers from J. R. Briggs' recent article at Faith Street, "Why Half of All Pastors Want to Quit Their Jobs":

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