• From Logos 6 (awesome software!)

    Reality Check: Your parish has a sinful leader

    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 Read more…

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

    People Want Loving, Active, Joyful, and Evangelical Leadership

    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 Read more…

  • This is humble rectory at St. Michael the Archangel parish in Woonsocket, RI.  The church building is to the left and the hall is behind it.  The back portion of the rectory contains classrooms, the parish office, and an apartment.

    Living in the Rectory – some pros and cons

    As a new priest, the first piece of advice many experienced priests have given me is to buy my own house.  We live in the rectory and, while it does bring challenges, we have found it to be rewarding for the parish, my family, and my ministry.  From the stories I have gathered, it seems that when Read more…

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

    When Fire Strikes: some lessons learned

    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 Read more…

  • sheep

    Am I Called?

    The Gospel reading for Matins this Sunday answers the question "Am I Called?" When you have understood this, you know what to do next. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I Read more…

  • welding

    10 Reasons Bivocational Ministry Matters

    By Chuck Lawless “I didn’t come to seminary to be a bivocational minister, to have to get another kind of job,” my student told me. I may not have agreed with my student, but I did understand his thinking. Back then (almost 15 years ago), we weren’t talking much about bivocational Read more…

  • Flickr/Scallop Holden

    Autopsy of a Burned-Out Pastor: 13 Lessons

    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 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…

Aug
21

Am I Called?

sheep

The Gospel reading for Matins this Sunday answers the question "Am I Called?" When you have understood this, you know what to do next. So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Read more…

Aug
16

10 Reasons Bivocational Ministry Matters

welding

By Chuck Lawless “I didn’t come to seminary to be a bivocational minister, to have to get another kind of job,” my student told me. I may not have agreed with my student, but I did understand his thinking. Back then (almost 15 years ago), we weren’t talking much about bivocational ministries. Now, that conversation has shifted. Pastors are beginning to embrace as their primary calling the role of bivocational minister. Some 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…

Mar
19

You Don’t Have to Like Your Priest

Chapter Seven of Fr. David's book has a chapter on how to relate to your priest: he uses the models of Lawyer, Doctor, Teacher, Artist, and Manager to help.

A reader recommended Brother Patrick Mary Briscoe's article "You Don't have to Like Your priest" (published on March 7, 2014 at Dominicana)   It is an excellent article and I recommend it, too.  Imitation is the highest form of flattery.  The following is patterned on Brother Patrick's essay.  Why do I like it?  I know that my parishioners struggle with this; not only have they benefitted from the service of saintly priests, their own Read more…