Ask a YCW: Sexual Harassment Edition

Dear Askie,

I’ve been really shocked and saddened lately by so many of my female colleagues, friends, and parishioners posting #metoo online with their stories of sexual abuse and harassment. I knew such things happened, but I had no idea how widespread this problem really was. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this kind of behavior in Hollywood or Washington, D.C., but it’s deeply upsetting how many of these experiences seem to have happened in churches. We have trainings and policies to protect children and youth in the church, but it seems like so many of my younger female colleagues have experienced abuse both by other pastors and by parishioners. What can we do to protect them as well as female parishioners? As a middle-aged male pastor, what can I do to address this problem? I want to be an ally, but I don’t even know where to start.

Signed,
Overwhelmed by the Stories

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Flooding in Port Arthur, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey

Ask a YCW: Disaster Edition

Flooding in Port Arthur, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey

Flooding in Port Arthur, Texas, following Hurricane Harvey

Dear Askie, I am so devastated by the news of so many recent disasters—Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and so many others. Watching it on the news just breaks my heart. What can my church and I do to help?

-A Concerned Church Member

 

Dear Concerned,

This is such a great question. For help with this one, Askie turned to the Rev. Elizabeth Grasham, a young clergywoman who serves as a Disciples of Christ pastor at Heights Christian Church in Houston, and who experienced Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath first-hand. Elizabeth writes, Read more

Ask a YCW- Halloween Edition

Halloween_Pumpkins_by_bartoszfDear Ask a YCW,

I found this great sexy pope costume online. Is it ok for me to wear it to the Halloween Party at my church tonight?

Party Pastrix

Dear Party-

No.

Ok, maybe not an outright no. But there are a few questions you should ask yourself about appropriateness before wearing this costume, and the chances of you ending with a yes are very slim. From Askie’s perspective way off in the internet, the idea of you dressing up as a sexy pope is HILARIOUS, precisely because it is about six different kinds of wrong, but the reality could leave you with a pretty big mess when the Feast of All Saints rolls around. So let’s do some discernment. Read more

Ask a YCW: Baptism Edition

Dear Askie,

Six months ago, my wife and I were blessed with our first child, a beautiful baby boy. We want to have our son baptized at our church, but our pastor is making things difficult. She keeps saying that the baptism needs to be on Sunday morning during the regular service, but that doesn’t really work well with our family. We wanted to have the baptism on a Saturday afternoon, so that we could have just family and a few invited friends there, and take them all to a celebratory dinner afterwards. Our pastor says she won’t do a private baptism, only one during Sunday church. How do I explain to her that it would be so much nicer and more intimate for our family to have a private ceremony? We’ve offered to let her pick the time on Saturday, and we’re more than happy to pay any costs, but she still won’t agree. How do I get her to stop being so unreasonable?

Sincerely,
Frustrated Dad

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open suitcase on a beach with beach gear inside

Ask a YCW: Vacation Edition

open suitcase on a beach with beach gear inside

 

Dear Askie,

I’m a solo pastor, and as summer approaches, people have been asking me what I’m doing for vacation this year. I know everyone says vacation is important for pastors, and I have vacation time included in my terms of call, but it seems like any week I’d want to be away, I would miss something important at the church. Plus, preparing for vacation is just so much work! With arranging pulpit supply, and getting bulletins ready in advance, and finding someone to cover pastoral care, it just sometimes seems easier to stay here. If it’s so much work to go on vacation, is it really worth it?

Signed,
Too Tired to Take Time

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Ask a YCW: Dating While Ordained Edition

Dear Askie,

I’m a young clergy woman, starting out in my first call. I’m single, and thinking about jumping back into the dating world now that I’m settled in my new location. I’m worried, though, that it might be a bit weird dating now that I’m a pastor. How will potential dates react when they find out? Should I say I’m a pastor in an online dating profile, or wait to tell people once we’ve actually met? Am I overthinking this?

Signed,
Solo Pastor Seeking to be Less Solo

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Ask a YCW: Discernment Edition

Dear Askie,

I’m currently a senior in college, trying to figure out what I’m going to do next. I think I might be called into ministry, but I’m not really sure. How do I know if God is really calling me or not? If I am called, what are the steps I need to take? What advice do you have for me?

Sincerely,

A future Young Clergy Woman?

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Ask a YCW: Retired Minister Edition

pews askie dec 2016

Dear Askie,

I’m a recently retired minister, and the church that my wife and I attend recently called a young clergy woman as the pastor. She is recently ordained, and this is her first call. Any advice for how I can support our new pastor (while also adjusting to my new place in the pews instead of the pulpit)?

Signed,
Retired and Looking Forward to Pew-Sitting

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Lattice Pie being held by someone in an apron

Ask a Young Clergy Woman: Potluck Edition

Lattice Pie being held by someone in an apronDear Askie,

Every month, our church has a potluck lunch after worship. It’s a great time of fellowship, with lots of delicious food. Every family brings something to share, but our pastor doesn’t. She comes to the potlucks, but she never brings anything. Our previous pastor always brought such delicious pies—his wife was famous for them! Shouldn’t our pastor contribute to these community meals? How can I get her to cook something?

Sincerely,
the Congregation’s Appointed Kitchen Elder

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Black silhouettes of a female and a male arguing on a grayscale background

Ask a Young Clergy Woman: Haters Gonna Hate Edition

Black silhouettes of a female and a male arguing on a grayscale backgroundDear Askie,

I recently found myself in a tricky situation, and thought you might have helpful perspective on it. A while ago, I got together with some old high school friends and their significant others. One old friend has become a young clergywoman, which I think is great, although I identify as atheist. Yay for religious people being non-oppressive and feminist and stuff! However, the other friend’s spouse made repeated negative comments about religion and religious people. The person making the comments had experienced a lot of trauma at the hands of people who claimed to have been acting in the name of God (both spouses are LGBTQ). My clergy friend was very gracious, but the exchange still made me very uncomfortable. I tried to change the subject a few times, but I’ve been wondering if there was any other useful way I could have helped diffuse that situation or made my YCW friend feel more supported. I try to be an ally to religious folks, just like I try to be an ally to the LGBTQ community, but as a young professional in a left-leaning city, I hear anti-religious sentiments much more often than I hear homophobic ones, and I don’t always know what to say. What advice do you have about how I could have supported my friend? What I can say when people talk smack about religion?

Thanks,
Your Friendly Atheist Ally

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