Post Author: Emily Zeig Lindsey
Even before graduation, I knew what it was like to leave that beloved built-in community of seminary. I’d had a foretaste of it when I spent my third year of seminary doing a yearlong full-time internship. I was in Florida. My seminary classmates and friends were in Georgia. My family was in Michigan. I was experiencing ministry in a very hands-on, practical way and loving it. But I was also experiencing some of the loneliness of ministry as well.
I had lunch with a newly ordained minister one day. She told me about a new group that was forming. She shared that there was this underground blog where young clergy women could talk honestly about ministry and share questions, struggles, and joys. It was The Young Clergy Women Project.
I was intrigued. It sounded exactly like what I needed. Not yet being ordained, I soon joined the sister group, which at that time was called Young Women Waiting. On the underground blog on Ning, I found others who were finishing seminary and going through the often daunting process of interviewing. More importantly, in this community I found a sisterhood of support. We shared questions to ask churches and clothing tips for daylong interviews.
In September of 2008 I was ordained and joined TYCWP. I continued to find community that got it and offered me ideas, support, and laughter as I grew into being a young ordained female pastor.
Since joining TYCWP and eventually becoming a board member, I’ve delighted in the ways the community has grown. Our membership is now over 800 strong. We’ve switched social media platforms and currently depend on Facebook for our community space. Our Facebook Closed Group is a hopping place of discussion, resource sharing, support, and prayer.
But not every young clergy woman is on Facebook. How could we offer this vital resource and community to all our members? How could we ensure that our space would continue to be private with changing policies? With that issue in mind, the Board dreamed of a new website with community space of our own. That dream is now coming to fruition!
The Community Board is excited to announce that the last piece of our website will soon be unveiled – private, community forum space! Any member will be granted access to it – membership can be through your Facebook account or a separate community forum account. Conversations will be divided by categories and topics, so old conversations can be more easily found and resources more readily shared.
Want to think about worship themes and sermon ideas? There’ll be a place for that. Need a last minute youth group lesson or game? There’ll be a place for that. Want to revisit that conversation about parental leave policies and reentry? There’ll be an easily findable place for that.
As a new liturgical season begins, so too will a new season in our community life together! Watch the newsletter, Facebook group, and twitter for more details as the beginning of Lent approaches.
Rev. Emily Zeig Lindsey is the solo pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in the small town of Waterford, PA. When not devoting spare time to working with the amazing women of TYCWP Community Board, Emily enjoys reading and trying out new recipes and restaurants with her husband.