Pretty Little Minister

“Well, aren’t you a pretty little minister? How old are you?” The grey-haired piano tuner had met me on the steps of the church, in the small New England town where I was serving, so I could unlock the big wooden doors and he could tune our grand piano. Bristling, I told him: “Twenty-four.”  Then […]

What Do Vicars Do All Day?

Recently, someone asked me, “What about ministry, exactly, makes it so stressful? Is it all the counseling you do for people and their crises?” “Well, the majority of what I do actually isn’t counseling,” I tried to explain. It’s hard to explain the stresses of ministry to someone who can’t imagine it intuitively. Before I could say more she asked, […]

“The same night for years”

Today, The Christian Century blog posted a piece I wrote: “Three times a year, a worship service ends and I go back to the vesting room to change — and I feel as though I’m entering a time warp.” Read More…

12 Steps for Clergy Recovery

Clergy have one of those fuzzy, slippery jobs – a job where nothing and everything is in the job description. Also, because being a pastor is essentially relational, there’s an emotional subtext to almost everything we do: from presiding at a funeral, to the look on our face while shaking someone’s hand or giving them communion, to what we put in the newsletter and […]

Mother Heidi

It’s a strange thing not to have children, as a young couple. It’s even stranger when you have a house in the suburbs, flexible work schedules, a dog, and you generally like people and children. But Adam and I have decided not to become parents. We discovered we weren’t able to conceive a few years […]

Ashes to Go, 2014

St. Benedict did “Ashes to Go” again this year – we offer ashes and a prayer of confession to passers by, since so many people have become too busy for their spiritual lives, and because we believe church shouldn’t stay contained inside the four walls of a building. We were out from 6-9 a.m. We […]

The Roommates

When I visit parishioners in a rehabilitation center or nursing home, there is often a roommate in the bed next to theirs. (Not in hospitals – these days, almost all hospital rooms are for one person.) These double rooms always have two televisions and usually, both televisions are on. On different channels! Still, the two […]

A Cuppa Spiritual Direction

My friend, Art, once complained about spiritual direction: “There’s a lot of weak tea out there.” When I was in my twenties, I went through three spiritual directors before finding a sensible Jesuit brother. The first three were lay women who were either too nice to ask good questions or had very particular ideas about […]

My Hair Stylist Asks to Make Her Confession

The woman who was doing my hair the other day is a Roman Catholic, but she enjoys going to evangelical churches. “They’re more spiritual,” she said to me. I should have asked her to explain what she meant by that, although she did say she loves the music. When I told this stylist I was […]

12 Reasons Why A Pastor Quit Attending Sports Events

12 Reasons Why A Pastor Quit Attending Sports Events 1. The coach never came to visit me. 2. Every time I went, they asked me for money. 3. The people sitting in my row didn’t seem very friendly. 4. The seats were very hard. 5. The referees made a decision I didn’t agree with. 6. […]