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More married couples in parish ministry

More married couples in parish ministry

The New York Times looks at the growing numbers of married couples in pastoral ministry in several traditions.

More female pastors has led to more heterosexual pastor couples, and growing acceptance of homosexuality has meant more same-sex pastor couples as well.

“It’s becoming more common, but it’s still a new thing,” said Phil Blackburn, who serves as pastor with his wife, Tasha, at First Presbyterian Church, in Fort Smith, Ark. “People kept wanting to know who’d be in charge. It was a process trying to find churches who could see beyond the potential complications and see the value in having us.”

Of course, there have always been couples running churches — it is just that one used to be called the minister and the other the minister’s wife. The wife may have worked just as hard, and held a kind of exalted status, but she lacked a clerical title and a salary. That is still the case in many evangelical churches, although even there, the old ways are changing.

We note that, in addition to the examples cited above, so far all of the women ordained to the episcopate in the Church of England are married to priests.

posted by Andrew Gerns


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Michael Hartney

And one of the Bishops appointed in England is married to a Bishop. That would be: The Right Reverends ….

Edward Dunar

It’s worth noting that this has precedent in early church practice. In Paul’s era, it was rather common for married couples to serve as leaders of communities or missionaries together (with equal authority).

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