That Was a Good Church

Why do we keep getting new Pastors, Mommy?

I looked at BigBrother in the rearview mirror before answering. Mainly, I took a moment to compose myself; the topic makes me grumpy. The unique way the United Methodist Church handles pastoral appointments is not my favorite thing about church. They really push the fact that church should be about faith, about a relationship with God, but tell that to a child who looks up to and loves a spiritual leader. All BigBrother understands is that he has known four pastors in his short life, was baptized by another and now, yet another has entered our life.

It’s confusing for adults, so I can only imagine what it feels like for him.

Well buddy, that’s just the way the United Methodist Church works. I don’t like it very much either. But Pastor LadyName should be great.

Silence falls over the car for a few miles as we push the speed limit just a bit; getting two kids up and out the door on a Sunday morning remains one of the hardest things, especially when my husband is working a 36 on, 12 off, 24 on series of shifts at the fire department. I feel depleted, mentally and emotionally. Quite honestly, that’s why we need to go to church, but the thought of having to sit down and figure out if our new pastor will be a “match” for our family feels daunting, overwhelming. I grip the wheel tighter, arguing a bit with God, tired of the changeover and the loss. I long for stability, for routine.

But all of our other pastors have been boys.

Ah, yes. I was waiting for that question. This part actually piques my interest. I’m not sure of specific statistics, but female pastors in our little area of the midwest are not the norm. I know, of course, it’s less about gender and more about her personality and her ability to connect with people, but I wonder if my family hasn’t been needing a little bit of female guidance — since I so often seem to drop the ball, Sunday morning or otherwise.

True. And they were great, but I’m sure Pastor LadyName will be great too. It’s like firefighter and teachers can be boys or girls.

And astronauts.

Of course.

We continue in sleepy but rushed silence, arriving at church just barely on time. Again. Rushing the boys in the door, I’m not even sure what the new pastor looks like; we’ve been traveling all summer and thus missed her first month of Sundays. I smile at everyone in case it’s her; I attempt to pat down LittleBrother’s hair which is looking very Green Day, 90′s grunge this morning. Haircuts soon, I make a mental note.

We settle down as Pastor LadyName makes her way to the pulpit. I settle in. The boys pay attention as best they can until I know they’ve hit a limit; I break out the coloring books as she begins her sermon which is about constructive versus destructive words. I wonder if she knew I was coming to church this morning and wrote this specifically for me. I peek down at LittleBrother, his crayon hovering over Scooby Doo, and realize he’s watching and listening. He looks up at me and smiles. I remember to breathe, to let go.

In Church

Walking out into the cool and sunny August morning, hand-in-hand with both of my amazingly well-behaved boys, LittleBrother squeezes my hand. “That was a good church, Mommy.

Yes. Yes, it was.

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5 Comments

  1. We do. Or more correctly I do struggle most Sunday mornings. We haven’t been to church much this summer but I am totally making it my goal for the fall. Sunday School too!

    I need that connection to God and other believers now more than ever.

    Reply
  2. This is beautiful! Getting the boys ready for church is tough, that’s for sure! We’re delighted that during the school year our church has two services and if we go to the second one, we only need to be there at 10:30 (instead of the more traditional 9 am time) — that’s great!

    As for pastors changing… I think my sons got used to that, since we had two pastors in two years in the Philly area before we moved to VA. It would be nice to have a “Lady Pastor” for a change, though! (our current pastor has been in this church for 8 years and he will probably stay a few more).

    Reply
  3. I loved this post. I have been a Methodist since birth and I have always struggled with the constant juggling of pastors. I have had pastors who saw me through cancer and a difficult pregnancy and then had to say goodbye. It never gets easy, but I always end up appreciating whoever walks through that door.

    Reply
  4. My MIL was a pastor in the UMC for years. She lived in various small towns all over our state before finally retiring from a church in our city. She had so many treasured friends from all over the state and mid-west. As one of only a handful of female and African American UMC pastors, it seems that everyone knew her or knew of her.

    Reply
    • My mother was the daughter of a Methodist pastor until her parents divorced. (Longer story, won’t be telling it.) She laments the three week notices before having to up and move; I’m sure that’s beyond hard as a child and early teen. Beyond hard.

      Reply

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