Photo: Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle
The Rev. Peter C. Boullata wrote a long letter explaining why he’s leaving parish ministry 12 years after entering it. Boullata describes a number of problems–from long days to the emotional weight of being in the congregation but not of it–and the stress of knowing more than you can tell the congregation, regarding hiring decisions and other administrative aspects of parish ministry.
From the letter:
And we have to sit there, with our lay leaders, silently, while aggrieved members of our congregations make a big noise. Knowing we will never break confidentiality, knowing we can never share the true story of why that staff person was dismissed. We have to grin and bear it, no doubt making our Puritan ancestors proud.
A similar story is in the Houston Chronicle; a profile of Houston area priests experiencing burnout due to isolation and the ‘fishbowl’ effect of being in, but apart from, the church family. The story centers on Father Norbert Maduzia, one of two priests serving a community of more than 4,000 families.
If you’re in parish ministry, how do you cope with the struggles of being in but not of the congregation? If you’re part of the laity, how do you avoid burdening your clergy with unfair or extra-spiritual issues?
Posted by David Streever