Are Our Traditional Ideas and Language About Ministry and the “Ministerial Call” Still Relevant?

Some years ago, I was having lunch with several United Church of Christ (UCC) ministers. Our Associate Conference Minister (ACM) joined us, and pretty soon one of the ministers, an ordained psychotherapist, engaged him in a protracted conversation about the nature of ministry, and congregations’ and pastors’ expectations of each other. My psychotherapist colleague said…

To Whom Does a Pastor’s Body Belong?

Martin Luther King, Jr. was many things to many people, but in his own mind, he was first and foremost a pastor. And although he was born 39 years before he was assassinated, his body implied a different story. An autopsy on King revealed that despite his youth, he had the heart of a 60-year-old-man. My understanding…

How Can Pastors Resist?

As I write these words, the United States is in the grip of a political crisis caused by an executive order, which many are calling an in-everything-but-name Muslim Ban. I can only imagine what the headlines of today are saying, but I suspect it is something worse. So, what are we as pastors or people…

Mind the Tiller: Leading a Church to Closure

This special post is written by The Rev. Dr. Gail Cafferata, Episcopal priest and sociologist of religion whose current research focuses on pastors who have closed churches. Dr. Gail Cafferata has worked with CARD to gather data on UCC churches that have closed between 2010 and 2012, as well as gathering information about the pastors who…

Gender Pay Gaps for UCC Clergy: Exploring the Numbers

Last week, a Religion New Service blog article caught the attention of many clergy in both mainline and evangelical circles. Tobin Grant reported on the disparities in pay between male and female clergy—analyzed for the first time by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this year—which highlighted that the gender disparity in pay for clergywomen amounts…