Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ministry Outside the Pulpit and Angst In Me

Today yielded blessings. Besides being New Member Sunday (so I am now "officially" a member of St P--bring on the offering envelopes), I met some really nice people at the reception after worship. Best was an older lady who, I noticed in the course of your basic ordinary "Hi, I'm new and delighted to be a member" conversation, was wearing a PFLAG logo on a necklace. I asked her about it and was blessed with meeting a new friend! (Now I wish I could remember her name--argghhh!) Turns out she was instrumental in getting St P to be open and affirming 8 years ago and establishing a local chapter of PFLAG. We clicked immediately and start jabbering about getting together to exchange strategies for making the place even more welcoming and affirming. Very cool. Very, very cool. Kingdom of God stuff.

I'm continuing to try to "get a read" on Pastor M. Great gal, but there seem to be walls or something. (My Stephen Minister commented that M has "very tightly drawn boundaires.") Not that M isn't perfectly pleasant and all that. I guess after that great and instant rapport I had with my last pastor at the Church of the Implosion, I had hoped for the same with Pr M. She is far and away the best preacher I have ever heard, and she cares deeply about inclusion, but I feel like she's kind of distant or something. Maybe because right now she is the sole pastor for a church with 3 services on Sunday, average attendance of 265, membership in the 400's. Could that be? I like her a lot but I just feel like she thinks I'm needy, or dorky or a dufus or something--probably the first since I met with her solo twice in the first two months I was there. Is that too much?? I have emailed her a couple times--mostly with thoughts; but she had already said she is usually too swamped to answer emails unless there's a critical need. I think this may be true since she did answer when I emailed about a health crisis my partner's mom had.

I don't want to have an "emotional temperature check" pattern going with her here, and I don't want to come across as needy or neurotic. (Although I probably am.) I want to come across as intelligent, affable, and adult. Help!

She is off for the next two weeks and my partner and I are on vacation this week, so nothing is going to happen at this point, but I'd love your feedback, including those of you who are ordained and can give some perspective on this from the pastor's chair. Thanks!


Blogger revabi said...

Congrats on joining your church. And congrats for finding a sister you can relate to. How neat.

And congrats for finding a Clergy woman with good boundaries. Gosh if I had her cong. I would have tight boundaries too. Too many of us are not very careful with our boundaries and find ourselves burned out or caring for the chronic members of our church only.
I don't think it is about you as much as you think. Let her teach you about boundaries in your life as well.

Be sure to spread around where you get your needs met in the church. We can expect too much from clergy especially women to be touchy feely caring all the time. And as I am learning in this new congregation, I just cannot or I will lose myself and get burned out.
Congrats again.

9:42 AM  
Blogger LutheranChik said...

I tend to be someone who maintains pretty tight boundaries for myself...although ironically, I also sometimes feel needy and expect other people to loosen their boundaries for me!

I'd echo what RevAbi says about looking for different ways to get your needs met in church. I love my pastor, who's been nothing but supportive to me in my own church participation and leadership (he and my partner are my two biggest cheerleaders in my lay ministry training), but I don't want to rely on him for all my affirmation and's not fair to him, and it's not fair to me. I like being useful, LOL, so I have nurtured good relations with the "excellent women" in our parish -- the go-to gals who organize our various projects. I also consider my online friends an extension of my church home -- particularly my G/L Christian friends online. They've saved me from bailing off the bus more than once.

8:13 PM  
Blogger will smama said...

Hey, sorry it's been awhile since I've been here.

Your quote: "Maybe because right now she is the sole pastor for a church with 3 services on Sunday, average attendance of 265, membership in the 400's."

Nailed it on the head. My guess is her head is spinning - that is a LOT - more than double the size of my church to be the onlyu ordained staffer.

Hope things are still good there for you.

12:44 PM  
Blogger LutheranChik said...

Just delurking...hope you had a good T-day holiday!

4:06 PM  
Blogger Catherine + said...

Dear Tangled, I can understand the question marks floating over your head. My priest was that way until she told me that she is swamped with emails too but she does try to get back to everyone she feels is asking for a reply. I hate to say be patient because that is all anyone seems to tell us anymore. I would kindly suggest using this time while you and your partner are on vacation and Pr. M. is away to try not to focus on thinking something is wrong with you...there isn't. You are not a dork, dufus or whatever. You, like a lot of us [including me] need to be acknowledged when we try to communicate thoughts or whatever, urgent or otherwise. Thankfully, my priest sees the subject line: some thoughts, and knows she can get back to me later, but she does get back to me. She also has three services, several classes, meetings et al. but she makes the time because she cares.

I am not saying Pr. M. doesn't. I guess what i really need to tell you is: welcome my sister in Christ to your new church home, and, all will be well. After all, until Pr. M. warms up and relaxes, you have us.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Catherine + said...

Hi Tangled, how you doing? I have tagged you for the Six Weird Things Meme thanks to St Pat. Here's what needs doing:

Name 6 things that are weird about you, and then
tag 6 other bloggers to do likewise.

I tagged you because you are a good and wonderful, thoughtful and caring blogger.

Cheers! Catherine+ [check my blog out to see who else got tagged with you and some things I was loathe to reveal about myself!]

1:32 PM  

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