Something Old, Something New

Post Author: Emily Brown and Austin Crenshaw Shelley


Check out new columns in this month’s edition of Fidelia!

Back in July, a small group of young clergy women who are unusually obsessed with grammar scooted our folding chairs up to folding tables in the basement of Boston University’s School of Theology. What began as a run-of-the-mill brainstorming meeting of the editors of Fidelia, the online magazine of The Young Clergy Women Project, ended as a virtual overhaul of the publication’s recurring columns.

Inspired by TYCWP conference participants who urged us to consider relevant and time-sensitive topics, the editors of Fidelia agreed that the time was ripe to introduce a column on issues relating to race. We wondered aloud: How might we as young clergy women do the hard work of listening, relationship building, and amplifying the voices of young clergy women of color and their allies? How might we foster conversation that leads to an honest assessment of privilege, a confession of the sin of racism, and an authentic engagement in racial justice and reconciliation?

Just Race was born of these questions, debuting on October 13, 2016, with Nicole Massie Martin’s Why we don’t always feel like talking about race (and what to do about it).

Looking ahead, Just Race will draw on the perspectives of a diverse group of young clergy women whose experiences of race vary depending on their social locations, cultural backgrounds, and racial and ethnic identities. We pray that the rich reflections in this column will continue, as Nicole’s article has done, to bear witness to the liberating Gospel of Jesus Christ in an age of racial inequality and injustice.

The enthusiasm over the addition of Just Race led to the birth of her sister columns: Such a Time as This, Ministry Lab, and When the Collar Comes Off.

Such a Time as This is our current events column, an occasion to react to the news of the world–news that is serious, heartbreaking, joyful, heavy, or light; and a space to reflect on that news in the light of both the Gospel and our unique perspective as young clergywomen. The inaugural publication of Such a Time as This ran on September 22, 2016, with Collette Broady Grund’s article, Sacred Land and Oil: One Pastor’s Response to #noDAPL.

Ministry Lab offers a space for ministry that is new, innovative, or exploratory in nature. What’s happening in the world of non-traditional ministry? How will ministry necessarily shift in response to the changing needs of the world? Are you navigating new waters and blazing new trails in ministry? Send us your ideas, and check out Ministry Lab’s first article, All Inclusive by Heidi Carrington Heath.

When the Collar Comes Off is our attempt at a bit of off-roading. While young clergy women claim ministry as a vocation rather than merely a job, we also know that there’s more to us than the ministry professional who stands behind the pulpit, in the classroom, at the table, beside the font, or next to the hospital bed. This column takes a look at the hobbies, interests, and bi-vocational occupations in which young clergy women engage when the collar comes off. For instance, here’s Kira Schlesinger’s account of balancing life as a priest and triathlete.

By now, our faithful readers are likely making sideways glances at their screens, wondering what’s happening to the columns they’ve come to know and love. Good news! Some columns are here to stay, including Single Rev, Ask a Young Clergy Woman, Jesus Review, Real Word, Here I Stand, and Holy Ghost Grab Bag. A handful of these columns will publish on a rotating basis while others will have a revised focus. Either way, you’ll be seeing these old friends around.

Yet, in order to introduce new columns, we must inevitably retire others. Our Cloud of Witnesses, The Ones We Love, and Moms in Ministry now honorably enter our archives. But wait! As resurrection people, we know that is not the end of the story. We do not grieve as those who have no hope! Instead, we imagine that these columns are born again (See what we did there?) as Lift Up Your Hearts, a column which examines a crucial intersection in the life of any minister. Lift Up Your Hearts seeks to reflect upon the impact of our ministry upon our relationships and the impact of of our relationships on our ministry. Catch the first Lift Up Your Hearts article fresh off the press: Small Town Listening by Jessica Crane-Munoz.

We hope you’ll enjoy the re-envisioned Fidelia magazine–so much so that you’ll share our articles on your personal social media pages, mine the archives for thoughtful reflections suitable for your church’s (or school’s or non-profit’s) newsletters or weekly devotions, or even send your own submissions to [email protected] for inclusion in future editions of Fidelia. With your help, we will continue to lift up the voices of young clergy women!

Emily and Austin serve as the managing editors of Fidelia, the online magazine of The Young Clergy Women Project. [Insert clever Hamilton reference here, i.e. They’re always writing like they’re running out of time.]

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