In Need of God by Sharon Benton

I’m in the process of trying to write a sabbatical grant focused on interweaving the sacred feminine (God the Mother, Sophia, Creator) with my own creativity and intuitive ways of knowing. As I write within the parameters of the grant application proposal, I begin to realize how impossible it is to genuinely embody my sabbatical in the proposal – the proposal instructions leave no space for the creative endeavor! So I offer my grant proposal to Fidelia – in its true form.

In Need of God

I need the Father
I need the connection that Jesus knew –
his immanent and intimate relationship with
Abba –
I need him, too.

I need the King
I need his absolute authority over my life
(although I tend to rebel – don’t you?)
his protection and care
which balance my utter dependence.
I need him, too.

I need the Lord
My allegiance only to him
my devotion and faithfulness to the One beyond all earthly
I need him, too.

Father – King – Lord
he continues to comfort, encourage, challenge
and you!
He is strong and determined to keep me
and my 21st century kin
from falling prey to powers and principalities
that strive for more and more
of life
of will
of desire
…of our very souls.
I need the Father-Lord-King of All.


I need the Mother
her warm breast nourishing my hunger
her bleeding womb fertile with creative energy
her intuitive wisdom shared over baked, broken and buttered bread.
I need her long, unbound hair that identifies me
as beloved daughter in her image
I need her flowing skirt harboring openness and freedom for my sex
I need her name spoken with love
and her love spoken with joy
I need the Mother, my God – God of All.

The Call to Create: An Interview with Suzanne Stovall Vinson

Christ and Creativity

This month we begin our intermittent series of interviews with YCWs who blend art and ministry in ways that are nourishing and inspiring. The Rev. Suzanne Stovall Vinson (suzanne l. vinson through her art) offered such thoughtful responses that we offer her thoughts completely unedited here. Don’t miss the photos as well…

Also, do you know fabulous YCWs with a story to tell about pursuing art and the creative life along with ministry? Let us know so we can contact her for a future column!

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Wearing the Robe

Next month we will start a new feature in Christ and Creativity, an intermittent series of interviews with YCW’s who also practice art, writing or other creative pursuits. We want to hear what drives them to create, who and what their creative inspirations are, and any advice they have for others who want to undertake a creative practice.

And now, “Wearing the Robe” by Jessica Rivera.

Wearing the Robe

Who am I…?
I wonder this sometimes
Mostly on Sunday mornings
As I sit uncomfortably in the high backed chair; looking at red-painted toes in my favorite high heels
Poking out from underneath the white-robe of my position

I wonder at this when eyes travel to wonder at my earrings
As I speak earnestly of faith
When I am introduced as the “girl Pastor” to visitors who shake my hand and say “wow, I’ve never had a girl Pastor before– you’re pretty good”
As if this was surprising because I was born with different parts than they expected
To be wearing this white-robe

In my secret chats with God I ask the question
And wonder about dating and children
“I am a woman” I say to God “can I be a lover and a pastor too?”
Or does love require a quiet and demure woman instead of a preacher?
And does the white robe fit over 9 month’s pregnant belly?

God answers the question
Not always on Sunday morning
But always quietly, almost mischievously
When whispered conversations with teenagers in camping-tents lead to thoughts of Jesus
When babies cry at warm water embrace of faith
When harmony breaks loose in wooden pews, lifting faith song
And call comes clear in bright colors
You are my chosen one, God says
And white robe becomes swaddling cloth of becoming; instead of the bondage
Of my position.

“Waters of Love” and “Birth Water”: New Poetry

Waters of Love

Genesis 1:1-5 and Mark 1:4-11

Life begins in the waters of creation.
The void. The deep. And the spirit of God swept over the face of the waters –
first creating one-celled,
then multiple-celled,
and eventually the endless numbers of intricately-evolved organisms
that populate the earth today.
And God called it good, beloved.

Life begins in the waters of creation.
The womb. We’ve all been there. Floating in the watery sac of amniotic fluid,
we each grew from 2 cells,
to multiple organs,
to the wondrously complicated being that sits in the pew
next to your neighbor: you.
And God called you good, beloved.

Life begins in the waters of creation.
The Jordan River. The place where Jesus stepped out of the waves and into his mission and ministry.
Growing from one Word of love,
to multiple acts of justice,
into an infinite call for each person to follow… into new life.
And God called the baptism good, and God’s child beloved.

The Deep.
The Womb.
The Jordan.
New life begins in the waters of creation.
And the new life is good.


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Preaching Poetry

Preaching Poetry

There isn’t much
that makes me think that writing
in free form
deep indents
will actually make my sermons any better.
Because when it comes right
I’m not slamming
(not that I was ever good at that when I tried)
in the pulpit
any more than I was when
I fancied
myself a poet far
from any

Last week
I sketched
my sermon
in some sort
of weirdfreeform
that I hoped would
break it (you know, the Word)
if only for me.

And I smiled when I thought about standing
before these nice, church folks,
spitting out words
in a rhythm
of stops
and starts
starts and
stops, then walking away to sing
the hymn of the day.

Then I swiveled
my chair to face the computer
and I typed long sentences
flowed together and broke only when the margin butted in and made them
jump to the next line as if scared that God’s grace really couldn’t
flow like the Gospel promised.

Poem: Bumper Stickers

Some time ago I saw a bumper sticker taped to a car, and I got to thinking about our ideals and the permanence (or impermanence) with which we hold to them. What messages would you be willing to affix to your life forever? What messages come and go with the times?

Bumper Stickers

ah, dear driver of the hulking black metal,
you “Imagine Peace” in earnest black letters
on a wide strip of white—
and you trumpet your sentiment with
four careful pieces of tape,
tape that will dissolve into gunk,
but easily disappear with goo-gone
purchased at the hobby lobby.
where’s the commitment?
do you think Peace is justsoclose,
so easily imagined, like the song
on the tip of your tongue, then YES!
that nothing of yours need be peeled away
in the process?

Perspectives on Baptism

This month we feature two pieces on baptism from two of our young clergy women. They convey very different, yet equally striking, aspects of the sacrament, as you will see.


Photo contributed by Sunny B. Ridings, who writes:

“The blessings of doing ministry in rural Tennessee are abundant. One of the richest blessings for me is getting to baptize the young people I work with as Associate Minister. The lake is a meaningful spot for those in our congregation, so these three church friends decided to be baptized in the lake. I love the look on the girl’s face who has just come up out of the water, with her two wet friends behind her. I can just imagine God saying, “These are my children, with whom I am well pleased.”


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The View from Your Ministry

Thanks to everyone who contributed photos for “The View from Your Ministry” contest! A few of our favorites appear below.

Also congratulations to Emily Chapman, who won the drawing for a Young Clergy Women tote bag and other goodies.

It is exciting to get a glimpse of the different contexts in which we do our work.


“Slow Church” By Abby Auman

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The View from Your Ministry

Andrew Sullivan, a blogger for the Atlantic Monthly, has a feature called The View from Your Window, in which people send him photographs of, well, the views from their windows. People have sent shots from all over the world, and they are an interesting mix of mundane and exotic – mundane to the person who beholds that view each day, exotic to the viewer who’s seeing that landscape for the first time.

And so, inspired by The View from Your Window, C&C is sponsoring “The View from Your Ministry!”

To inspire you (and help you see that it’s really not about composition… really), here is a snapshot taken by our youth director of yours truly, telling the story of Noah’s Ark at our Vacation Bible School.

Happy Photographing!


See the winners from our submissions!

New Poems by “Pink Shoes”

This month we feature two new poems by a pseudonymous blogger who writes at Pink Shoes in the Pulpit.



You remind me of words
I said long ago
Words that I’d forgotten
and scenarios
I had scrubbed clean away.
You make me laugh
and somehow sad,
not knowing what
this is all about.
I scanned over some
pieces today
that represented
more than the black and white
on the page,
and that conjured up places
I’d allowed to gather dust.
Tile by tile
Piece by piece
Creating a bit of


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