Dec
05

Reality Check: Your parish has a sinful leader

From Logos 6 (awesome software!)

A pastor friend forwarded this to me at an opportune time: the day after I had responded to someone's challenge with acerbic sarcasm.  It happened at a board meeting, and I knew I had gone too far the moment I loosed my tongue.  It became more obvious when that board member left the meeting in tears.  The rest of the board looked on in shocked amazement.  They may have been surprised by the meanness of my response... but I wasn't.  Like Read more…

Nov
15

40 Days of Blogging: Rules and Vocational Discernment

From OrthoAnalytika, by Fr. Anthony Perkins (15 November 2014) With thanks to Fr. John Peck (Preacher's Institute) for setting up the 40 day challenge. I have been the Director of Vocations for the UOC-USA for about a year and a half now. It has been a real blessing to help men and women understand, discern, and live their calling to serve God and His children. There are challenges, though. One of them is that in order to Read more…

Nov
08

People Want Loving, Active, Joyful, and Evangelical Leadership

Image from http://bibleyp.com/verses/joy/

A couple of months ago, Pew Research announced a finding that surprised me: 49% of Americans want preachers to speak about "political issues."  This was roughly the same percentage that do NOT want them to do so.  I have not looked closely at the data, but I am willing to bet that people who go to church are more heavily represented in the first group.  All this is to say that the majority of people in our parishes *want* their priests Read more…

Sep
05

When Fire Strikes: some lessons learned

From the ceiling: the ceiling on each side of the icon was destroyed; St. Michael was not.

Two years ago, during the pre-dawn hours of the feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the parish of St. Michael in Woonsocket (UOC-USA) suffered from a terrible fire. It got up into the rafters and destroyed the roof. It was only due to the bravery and proficiency of the firefighters that it was kept from being a complete loss. Through your prayers, the intercession of our patron and all the saints, and the grace of God, we hope to begin Read more…

Jul
09

Autopsy of a Burned-Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

Flickr/Scallop Holden

Another short gem from Thom Rainer, this one based on his "autopsies" of pastors whose ministries - and persons - were rendered "mission incapable" by their inability to cope with the cumulative pressures of parish life.  Please note that only two of the factors: serving dysfunctional parishes and being poorly remunerated (and possibly #9, failure to take a sabbatical) are under the direct control OF THE PASTOR.  This is not to say that Read more…

Jul
01

The One-Term Curse (and how to avoid it)

A lame duck president finds it hard to lead - mores the pastor!  Image from http://accentoninterpreting.blogspot.com

In this essay, Thom Rainer describes a parish phenomenon that is all too common among pastors: the three year tenure.  I grew up in a tradition - Methodism - that had institutionalized a four year rotational schedule for its ministers.  While short tenures have some benefits, they do not allow for the development of the kind of relationships and trust that should exist between Orthodox priests and the people they serve.  One of my Read more…

Mar
30

Priests, you don’t have to like your parish either

Slide1

In my post, “You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest”, I built on Brother Patrick’s essay to describe some of the reasons that people don’t like their Orthodox priests, making the general point that all of his foibles pale in comparison to the One Thing Needful which He serves and shares. Another dynamic of this relationship is the attitude of the priest towards the people he serves. Sometimes priests have a hard time liking them, Read more…