July 4 strikes fear into the hearts of many young American pastors. Often, our seminary training included some cautionary tales about taking care to make sure that a secular holiday not overtake worship and and blur the lines between love of God and love of country. Some congregations agree with this idea. Others do not. (And then, of course, there is the eternal question: do you note the occasion the Sunday immediately before or after July 4th?) Controversy ensues, and you have to make a choice: is this one of the things you are willing to spend your pastoral capital on? There’s a pretty good chance that this is one of the first areas of ministry in which you may have to reach some sort of compromise, however small or subtle.
Gathered from the wisdom of members of Young Clergy Women International, here are some of the options pastors and congregations have crafted. Read more