What does it mean to be a "pastor's wife," anyway?
July 2, 2010 10:58 AM   Subscribe

My fiance is finishing his last year of seminary, with the end goal of becoming a pastor in the UCC (United Church of Christ). I am totally fine with this, but also realize that this job has some... unique aspects, particularly relating to one's spouse and family. Can you help me start to prepare myself?

I read the responses to this question and found some good insights, but I feel my situation is a bit different. My fiance is in his last year of seminary, and will be looking for positions as a pastor in the UCC. I knew this going in to the relationship, so this is not a surprise to me. He is a wonderfully intelligent and open-minded man; the UCC is a very progressive denomination, and he is active in GLBT and anti-poverty work. Our religious beliefs align very closely, so there is no conflict there.

We've spoken about the challenges that may lay ahead, but because he hasn't started his ministry yet, he isn't really equipped to answer many questions about what my role will be. I'm feeling a bit nervous about it all; I never really anticipated this for my life, and I grew up Catholic, so I didn't see any examples of how pastor's families worked. The only examples I've seen are from popular media, which tend to be somewhat antiquated or apply to more conservative churches, which isn't really applicable to our situation.

I will say that ultimately, I'm okay with sort of... taking on the "sidekick" role, if that makes sense. I have always been the type who dreams more of having and raising a family, rather than following an ambitious career path, so I don't anticipate a lot of tension between his career and my career. (Of course, our financial situation will determine how viable this is, but I of course can't predict that.)

I know I'm thinking way too far ahead, but I am the type who likes to gather as much information as possible before stepping in to a situation. Do you have any anecdotes to share? Favorite parts, least-favorite parts? Dynamics you've observed in your own churches (or in your own families/peer groups)? Good books on the subject? I plan to share this information with my fiance, hopefully it will spark some more good discussions. Thank you in advance!
posted by anonymous to Religion & Philosophy (21 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
My father is a pastor and one of the things that my mom always struggled with was getting to know everyone at a new congregation. They will all know who you are and know your name, but it may take some time to get to know them. Don’t be shocked if you are frequently greeting folks every week and you have no clue what their name is for a while.
For you and your fiancé, you will have to deal with the ghost of the pastor and pastor’s wife who came before you. If the previous pastor had a wife that ran Sunday School, directed the choir, and planned all the church social events, chances are there will be an expectation for you to step into that as well. This was not really my mom’s cup of tea (being an introvert) but she also had a really hard time saying no, so I know it was a struggle for her at times. Be prepared that if the congregation really loved their last pastor and his wife it will take some time for them to warm to you. They will need some time to come to love and recognize you and your husband’s gifts and not compare you to old pastor X and his wife. On the other side if the last pastor was one that left under less than pleasant circumstances, the hurt and the mistrust will be there too and you might be a part of helping to heal that. My parents were on both sides of this issue.
Making friends at a new congregation can be tricky, depending on your fiancé’s philosophy about such things. My dad always kept a certain boundary in place with members of the congregation to avoid compromising the pastoral relationship. This meant my parents didn’t really go out a whole lot. Eventually my dad ended up meeting several other pastors in the area and formed friendships with their families. The few friends my mom had came from her work environment.
Over all my family had a very good experience in our church (Lutheran-ELCA). My dad was usually beloved by his congregations and we were all embraced and loved. It was like I had a very big family looking out for me and caring for me. I know that isn’t the experience of every family, but it was mine.
posted by Palmcorder Yajna at 11:19 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

From a member who would prefer to remain anonymous:
I am the asker of your "this question" [previously] link. Ultimately he decided not to go through with it in part because while I was prepared to be his smiling sidekick, the church did and does not resonate with me as it does with him. I will go to church with him now if he asks me to, but it's not something I'd do on my own, and this bothers him. Surprisingly, it has not become a Major Issue in our marriage and he has found other non-career pathways to fulfill his spiritual desires.

So, I can't be of more help, but I thought you should know what happened. Good luck and best wishes.
posted by jessamyn at 11:23 AM on July 2, 2010

My father is an American Baptist minister (as distinct from -- and far more liberal than -- the Southern Baptists). I can tell you that my mother never liked being the "preacher's wife" very much. Church members, particularly Baptists, seemed to have had expectations for her behavior and attitudes that she was not quite ready to conform to. (She was also a bit of a contrarian.) She was expected to take something of a leadership role among the women of the church, organizing various charitable activities and attending meetings of one stripe or another. The women in the church, at least at first, were a little surprised and taken aback that she did not do these things, and in fact, did not WANT to do these things. I think she thought she was not well-liked as a result. That may have been true; I was a kid and not paying that much attention.

I feel like there could be some similar expectations in the UCC church, at least in terms of the role of "preacher's wife." If you are open to taking on some role(s) in the life of the church, it could be a very rewarding experience. My mother would have been much more interested in doing something for the LGBT community than in knitting Bible cozies for missionaries (or whatever it was the Baptist ladies were doing).

One thing I will say is that pastors' families work just like any other family. That is, it depends a lot on the family members, their attitudes toward each other, and whether they are happy with each other and in their work. Maybe the only difference is that members of the congregation tend to think of the pastor as being always "on call," and ready to talk to them at any time about anything church related. Our phone rang constantly, in the evenings and on my dad's day off, with questions and concerns from church members. So maybe there was a problem with boundaries.

Also, the phone rang in the middle of the night a fair amount, when someone in the church had died or was about to. That will take some getting used to.

I have lots more to share. Feel free to Memail me if you want to.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 11:27 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think this traditional "Pastor's Wife" role can be a big or as little as you make it, and you can decide how involved you will be prior to your husband interviewing at a church it will help a lot setting expectations. My church pastor's wife is a pastor of her own congregation, so it was made clear when he interviewed that she'd not be available for normal "pastor's wife" type activities. We knew what we were getting, and he's been the pastor here for over 15 years now. His wife will be a guest preacher on some Sundays, and show up at some social event/dinners held at the church, but that is the extent of her involvement.
posted by jrishel at 11:30 AM on July 2, 2010

I have an anecdote to share, but this person is the only clergy I've ever known, so I don't have anything to compare it to. It may be an oddity of sorts.

My best friend's & former roommate's father is an Episcopal minister in a very progressive church. I can't speak much as to his wife's role, but I do know that he works every. single. Sunday. It's very difficult for him to get Sunday off for weekend trips or family events. The weekend that his daughter was married, the man he had scheduled to fill in for him called out sick, and the minister had to leave the reception and drive back to deliver a sermon the next morning. Of course, this will probably vary wildly depending on the church you and your fiance end up in!

The point of this is that it was surprising that a minister's schedule could be so rigid. It had never occurred to me before.

They are a lovely and loving family. It seemed like his training and work in the ministry helped him to be a good listener and a gentle, patient person, which made him a terrific father. He might have had those traits anyway, but I think that working with parishioners for so long honed his abilities. It sounds like you and your fiance will be valued members of whatever church he works at.
posted by Fui Non Sum at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2010

Preacher's daughter here.

There are a few things that stand out to me as important to remember:

1. You will live in a fishbowl. Everyone is looking at you all the time, whether you like it or not. I remember that people got riled up when I got braces, as they weren't sure a pastor should be spending money in such a frivolous way. So if your house is too nice, people will talk. If it's not nice enough, people will talk. Not just about money, either, but about everything and anything. Whatever folks talk about, they'll talk it about you and your family.

2. There will probably be a lot of hostess duties. We had people over for Sunday dinner every week, and we also had people over during the week for Bible studies, counseling, etc. It was a lot of work for my mom, who learned how to cook for large groups frequently and sometimes with very little notice.

3. As the minister's wife, you can NOT engage in any gossip, no matter how harmless. Church members often like to talk about other church members, so practice biting your tongue and saying only nice things about people, or learning how to change topics quickly and gracefully.

4. There's a lot of pressure on preachers' kids to be well-behaved from a young age.

5. Women in the church who are uncomfortable talking to the pastor about something personal may come to you for guidance.

It's not an easy life. I imagine it might be easier in a liberal denomination like the UCC, and the bigger the church is, the easier it gets. (Bigger churches tend to have more distance from their pastors' families.)

That's all I can think of for now, but feel free to MeMail me any time.

Best of luck to you and your betrothed!
posted by brina at 11:34 AM on July 2, 2010 [2 favorites]

(PS. Are there any courses at the seminary that you could take? My mother actually earned a "Mrs. in Ministry" at the seminary my dad attended. The community there did a lot to help her ease into the life of a minister's wife.)
posted by brina at 11:47 AM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

My father is a minister and my mother and stepmother agree that being a preacher's wife is a job in and of itself.

This is what my experience tells me:

If you go into it with the idea that his job is unrelated to you or your marriage then you may find that it impinges upon your life more than you expected. Additionally, he or his congregation may come to resent you for not being supportive of their spiritual journey. On the other hand, if you approach the ministry as something you and your husband are doing together then it can be very fulfilling.

That said, remember that any job has its less enjoyable aspects. Even pastors may despise committee meetings. Even dedicated pastor's wives may detest the women's Bible study group. So don't feel like you're not cut out for the work just because some part of it seems unappealing. Part of what non-ministers often overlook about the ministry is the degree to which it really is a job. I think many spiritual or religious people aren't accustomed to thinking of their spiritual growth as someone else's bread and butter. So make sure you're able to understand that being a pastor's wife means that the congregants' spiritual growth will be your bread and butter.

On reviewing this I see that this may seem a little bit conservative in that it seems to place the wife as the husband's "helper". As far as that goes, I would say that spousehood, rather than gender roles, are the issue here.

Finally, I think the best way to prepare yourself is to make sure that both you and your husband view yourselves as a team. Because he hasn't had his own church yet he will be learning his role at the same time you will. So talk with him in advance about the way you will both be creating your roles. And then talk with him in advance about the way you'll need to communicate during the creation of those roles. That way he won't be expecting things from you that you aren't prepared to give and vice versa. If you and your husband expect in advance to involve one another in the establishment and definition of "pastor" and "pastor's wife" then you'll be more likely to react together to challenges and feel more content with your results when you see what your roles become.
posted by Quizicalcoatl at 11:53 AM on July 2, 2010

She was expected to take something of a leadership role among the women of the church, organizing various charitable activities and attending meetings of one stripe or another...

And this is all without ah, remuneration, correct? Kind of like the First Lady?

I just wanted to point out that the UCC that my mother attends shifts the Sunday worship to Wednesday nights for the summer. So there is the potential for having a free weekend.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:04 PM on July 2, 2010

And this is all without ah, remuneration, correct? Kind of like the First Lady?

At most of the churches I've ever gone to, particularly those with booming children's ministries, yes, it would be fair to compare the role of the Pastor's Wife to the role of First Lady.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:06 PM on July 2, 2010 [1 favorite]

I might point out that in many predominantly African American congregations of certain denominations, the preachers wife is LITERALLY called the "First Lady."

Meanwhile, to answer your question, are any of the faculty members of your fiance's seminary former pastors? Perhaps their spouses would be good folks to ask. I'm thinking that the role of a pastor's wife may very well depend on the denomination. In my own church-large, with a multitude of pastors-the senior pastor's wife has chosen to simply care for her husband and family and not fulfil any church obligations. She was and is a homeschooling mom so she has plenty to do. She occasionally speaks with her husband when he asks her to do so but but that's it. He has always left it up to her as to what role she wants to play. Our church is big on people in the congregation stepping up to do stuff so no one has a problem with it. The other pastor's wives pretty much participate or not as they choose. Some do, some don't.

But the part about living in a fishbowl probably applies across the board, in any denomination or church.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 12:31 PM on July 2, 2010

Another preacher's daughter here. I agree with a lot that brina said, though we never had to deal with that kind of hostessing. We just threw a Christmas party once a year, and the rest of the time weren't allowed to go in the "living room". Even in a tiny parsonage, there was always a separate "den" and "living room", and there was no living in there, for sure - that space was the old-fashioned parlor, on call for prayers, meetings, etc... and I recall people of the church being helpful and stopping by for one thing or another, dropping off produce, heard we had trouble with the sink, etc. It was like living a mile down the road from a dozen hovercraft landlords.

My mom made the most of it. She's a musician and a crafty lady, and loved giving my brother and me "Montesori-at-home" (to make up for the county school system) so she genuinely enjoyed a lot of the "preacher's wife" jobs, organizing bible school, being the sunday night pianist, running youth groups, teaching sunday school... She found it very annoying every time we moved that she was going to be expected to do something, and had absolutely no control over what it was she'd be expected to do. Basically the departure of the previous preacher's wife left a social or organizational vacancy, and if the previous lady had been all about the Women's Circle, and hosting Bible study with little tea sandwiches, and delivering flowers to shut-ins, Mom was in a bad way, because that's just not her style. On the other hand, if she'd ever followed a "career woman" I'm sure she could've done (or not done!) pretty much anything she wanted. But preacher's wives with their own career were pretty rare because of the frequent moves.

One down-side of brina's items 3&5 is that the preacher's wife has a limited pool of potential friends. We lived in really small towns, such that everybody Mom met was either one of our church ladies, or one of the ladies of another church, or hte sister to one of our church ladies... too close for comfort, in any case. Basically there just weren't very many people that it was politically safe for her to be truly friends with. That, combined with the fact that we moved every 3-4 years, meant that all her real friendships were long-distance. Not easy on her. (As a 12-year-old, I knew way more about my mother's genuine grown-up feelings about genuine grown-up issues than any kid ought to have to deal with).

Similarly, mom did a lot of not-defending of her choices. She raised us the way she thought best, and if (when!!) ladies of the church criticized, about all she could say was "oh, I read a book that really recommended this", or "oh, it seems to be working out for the kids", or "oh, that's what their grandmother expects", or some bland nonsense answer - actual debate about whether she was forcing us to read too young or not standing over us while we said prayer every night, or whatever, was totally out of the question. By the same token, she didn't really get to talk about her interpretation of religious questions (is Hell really fire and brimstone?) if it was anything not 100% standard. Mom (thanks, Mom!!) laid down the law pretty early on, and we did not have to show up every time the church was occupied - the family went to Sunday school and one church service on Sunday morning (every every every week), and usually on Sunday evening, unless it was inconvenient for wahtever reason. But not both services, not services at the other church when Dad was managing a parish, not the Wednesday service (when there was such a thing)... she didn't go to every Seniors breakfast, every Bible study, etc, either.

Of course, all this was in a rural setting, which is as much responsible for some of the social structure as the church is. I suspect it will be somewhat different for you. It's not just that UCC is a more progressive denomination, it's that it doesn't even exist in a lot of areas of the country. We dealt with a lot of issues that were basically "life in a small town", and the culture of the farmers was as driving as the church doctrine when it came to social expectations. (i.e. church doesn't say alcohol is a sin, but the preacher's wife had better not have a bottle of wine even to cook with) You'd probably be spared that just becuase there aren't many (any?) tiny rural UCC churches. For my dad's denomination, the promotion/raise system involved moving every 3 years to a new place with a bigger budget. All young preachers did one rotation as assistant pastors, then off to tiny rural country churches, growing to pairs or threes of rural churches, then to larger suburban churches with budgetary problems, and it's only now that he's 5 years from retirement with no kids at home that he's living in a house considered by most Americans to be a "nice house" big enough to raise a family in (at least he can have the grandkids over!).

About fitting into the new church routine, organization, and expectation, I would basically say to know what you like to do, and what you don't like to do. Volunteer for what you like to do, and learn how to say no to things that stress you out. Depending on the culture of your denomination, and the churches themselves, there may or may not be a lot of expectations; this was also 20 years ago, and maybe it's more common now that the preacher's wife would have her own non-church job, and perhaps even non-church priorities.

Anyway, that's a lot of anecdata, but I hope it's good for a "thank God that's not us" if not for actual relevancy. memail me if you'd like.
posted by aimedwander at 1:40 PM on July 2, 2010

In a small church -- which is where you'll probably (but not certainly) start out -- the pay is small, the wife is expected to be a full-time pastor's wife, and you may well have to have a job because the pay is so low. You'll finish 40 hours a week, drive a long way home, and be expected to come home and work another 40 hours, for free, for the church.

The first few years are the hardest -- many congregations send their youngest ministers at the lowest payscale to the small, rural churches. You tend to "work your way up" to the bigger churches in larger areas, where there isn't so much pressure on the family, the pay is better, the work opportunities for you are better, and there is more professional help at the parish so the wife isn't expected to be everything from the Sunday School manager to the music ministry boss.

Unless he specializes in urban ministry, in which case you may start in a large church but on a low pay scale.

Divorce rates in ministry are higher than average (for people of the same socioeconomic status as the minister's family). Most seminaries have various programs for learning how to be a pastor AND have a family -- he should take copious advantage. I don't mean to scare you off -- I went to seminary, and many of my best friends have excellent marriages AND are excellent pastors -- but being married to a minister isn't easy, and BOTH of you will have to be very intentional about protecting your family and your marriage from his ministry.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:33 PM on July 2, 2010

Ha, it's funny, I was involved with an Episcopal priest recently and a lot of this stuff is part of the reason why that was never going to work. I totally see where you're coming from in being cool with the concept, I was too. She also was really progressive, a women's studies major, formerly a civil rights attorney, all her clergy friends were gay and openly partnered, all in all a really interesting group. I am not religious and that was cool with her especially since I'm totally down with what's going on in the emerging church movement she identified with in terms of commitment to poverty and social justice and the environment. But, yeah, basically, she made it clear that at some point there will be an expectation within the church that I would join in some capacity, and that I would also have to be down with being the dad who brings the kids to church on Sundays and stands in line next to his clergy lady wife meeting with the congregation. I just didn't think about it much, because all that honestly that was soooooo far down the line, but, sure, that would have raised all kinds of issues. As a social worker I tend to date really ambitious women who make more money and hold more prestigious positions than me so the side kick thing didn't bother me so much.
posted by The Straightener at 4:12 PM on July 2, 2010

Mod note: From the OP:
"Thank you all so much for your responses and anecdotes; I really appreciate seeing such a wide range of experiences, and it's given me a lot to think about. The seminary doesn't seem to offer much for spouses, but I'll ask about the other preparatory courses and if they address families in ministry.

I forgot to mention in my original question that I do have some related experience in being part of a ministry family; through my entire time living at home, my mother was involved in the ministry at our (Catholic) churches, usually as music director and for a while as the pastoral associate. Because she was so involved and there so often, I did experience some of the "living under a microscope" aspect, although obviously not to such a great extent. So, I do understand some of it, like never being able to take a spontaneous weekend trip, the calls in the evening when a funeral needed to be planned and church members watching me grow up.

Thank you again - and if more people have responses, please keep them coming!"
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:17 PM on July 2, 2010

I'd just like to say that it makes me very happy that you're doing this for your husband/your relationship! So many people would just say "uhhhhh no."

My mother is a pastor's wife. She fits the role in a very stereotypical manner. She leads womens' Bible studies, organizes events, sings the in the choir, etc.

However, you can no doubt get away with much less and still be loved! I think the most important thing is to always be polite, welcoming, and a bit outgoing. People always want to meet the pastor and his wife (and kids ): ) after services and such. A smile goes a long way.

You probably won't be required to make this a "full-time job". However, you'll "fit" most peoples' definition a lot better if you find at least one thing and "make it your own". Whether this be starting a quilting circle to make quilts for elderly/disadvantaged people, help recruit for a local soup kitchen, organize school supply drives for needy families around July, etc. If people can associate one ministry (it can be something quite secular even) with you, they'll feel more comfortable with your role in the church.

Best of luck, I'm sure you'll do great!
posted by Precision at 8:09 PM on July 2, 2010

Feel free to memail me, etc.
posted by Precision at 8:10 PM on July 2, 2010

So, I do understand some of it, like never being able to take a spontaneous weekend trip, the calls in the evening when a funeral needed to be planned and church members watching me grow up.

Yeah, her schedule was kind of a bummer and pretty hard for me to get used to, the whole thing of never having a Sunday off made planning weekends a major downer, especially planning weekends out of town. If the relationship was going to go the distance I could have dealt with that, I mean, dating a doctor or lots of different types of lawyers means having someone with a bizarre schedule to. The living under a microscope thing just took a little work on my part but nothing that was in any way onerous. Like, if was meeting her after church on Sunday for brunch and she was still in her collar she obviously was like, watch your language a little if you don't mind and watch the PDA, don't be all grabbing my ass and stuff when we're in a crowded place near my church because there's totally parishioners around. I had to be super careful about what I posted on her Facebook page because she was connected mostly to other clergy people, parishioners, and her bishop. Honestly, this was all good for me, I had to be more consciously grown up around her when she was collared ways I probably should be, anyway. The Episcopal clergy chicks can mod their uniforms, too, in ways that made it less imposing, like she could wear this really cute sleeveless, knee length black dress she had modded to fit her collar. She was basically totally hot in her collar and drew a lot of attention in public in a way that was kind of fun when she wore it, which wasn't that often, anyway.
posted by The Straightener at 5:36 AM on July 3, 2010

"You'd probably be spared that just becuase there aren't many (any?) tiny rural UCC churches."

Your definition of "rural" may differ from mine, but many UCC churches are in rural/small town New England.
posted by Jahaza at 12:17 PM on July 3, 2010

I'm a PK (preacher's kid) and now I'm married to a minister.

Minister's wives really vary, as so the expectations on them. My mom is a well-behaved minister's wife, actively involved in personal ministry and the congregation, but not Super Hostess. She's warm and hospitable to everyone but there are no major obligations in this department.

Another minister's wife I knew at a Church Long Ago and Far Away treated it as entirely her husband's job. After all, he was the one "called", not her. She maintained a separate life and career and did the very minimum expected of her.

But then you do have the "First Lady" model, which calls upon the wife to be so much more.

It's tough stuff. I've seen marriages torn apart because of one spouse's desire for ministry and I've seen ministries torn apart because of a lack of spousal support.

I think anyone marrying into the ministry should know:
1. Denominational/congregational expectations of their role- do they think they're hiring a minister or a ministry team?

2. Your future spouse's expectations- do they want you sitting on the front row at every service, ready to teach, lead or host whatever is necessary?

3. Your own willingness- how far are you ready to go in submitting to your spouse's job (and the expectations that come along with it)?

I know no other life than the one in this particular fishbowl. Feel free to memail me.
posted by wallaby at 10:07 AM on July 16, 2010

Whoa weird. I'm a UCC pastor and I just got engaged last month. I'll give you my modern take - I can't really tell you what to expect, but I can tell you some of the ground rules that my partner and I have.

1. I am not her pastor. This is probably the most important thing I have to say. We have a pastor, he's an awesome guy, he's her pastor and my pastor and we're both members of his church. Does your fiance have a pastor of his own? Pastors need pastors and so do pastor's spouses.

2. She is not a member of my church. This is closely related to #1 - I'm a solo pastor and if she were a member of my church I'd be her pastor. Which is against the rules. I'm sure your husband is taking a couple of boundaries courses (if he's at CTS, probably Legal Issues in the Modern Church) and will understand why pastors usually can't minister to their own relatives. This is also the reason I can't take a position at, for example, my mom's church, without having to ask her to relocate.

3. She has her own call, it is amazing and spectacular and totally awesome, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with my ministry. I respect this and honor God by honoring her calling. Her calling, however, may be 9 to 5, and mine is definitely not. I'm also not a very "private" pastor - I believe in experiential homiletics and being above the board about everything - so while I wouldn't necessarily preach about the fight we had last night, I will and do preach about my struggles with cigarette addiction, past mistakes, personal grief, etc. if I feel it will help me explicate a passage more clearly. She gets this and is on board, but I try to clear this stuff with her first.

4. What kind of pastor does he expect to be? I hate to make this into some kind of false dichotomy, but in my experience there are two kinds of pastor. Personal Life vs. Professional Life pastors, and Professional Life is Personal Life kinds of pastors. I am solidly in the second camp. I deeply love my parishioners and consider them intentional family. If I go on vacation and I don't want to deal with work, I have to go someplace where my cellphone literally does not function. And when I'm at home, I'm a 24/7 kind of pastor. I don't have kids, though, and I know kids complicates things. Anyway, my church is smallish (approx. 100 members) so I can be pretty close to the parishioners. Does he expect to have a totally private "private life" and another "professional life" or are there going to be parishioners at your house a lot? Will he take a 2 a.m. phone call or is he off the clock? These are good questions to ask.

5. It is a call. And I don't want to get too heavy or freak you out with this stuff, but Jesus calls us to a life of ridicule, abandonment, torture, prison and even death if necessary. How seriously does he take this stuff? In the UCC especially, it's not uncommon for pastors to end up in jail. As the LGBTQ stuff becomes more litigious, especially in the South, is he willing to go to jail? I spent a few months in the West Bank, serving as an EMT in a conflict area and was in a life-threatening situation more than once. My partner had to cope with this and I can tell you it wasn't fun for her, but I felt a strong call to this mission work. How far is he willing to go with the gospel? It can get you into some "not fun" kinds of places, especially if (more likely when) he is called to confront the powers and principalities of the world.

6. It's going to be awesome! Congratulations. Email's in my profile if you have any other questions.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:14 PM on July 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

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