Mistakes Churches Make During an Interim Ministry

The Parish Paper


After thirty years of service, the pastor of Community Pine Church retired. For the majority of members, he was the only church pastor they had ever experienced. Lay leaders quickly formed a search committee to get started on finding an interim pastor. Any step that might delay them seemed a waste of precious time. They feared the months between pastors could deplete resources and members’ energy. After some discussion, the committee produced a vague document about the congregation and the kind ...

Court Ruling on Clergy Housing Allowance Raises Questions

Jonathan New


Shock waves have reverberated across the land over the past two weeks as clergy and the religious organizations that employ them got word of a federal court ruling that may mean the end to the clergy housing allowance tax exclusion.  On October 6, Judge Barbara Crabb of the District Court of the Western District of Wisconsin struck down as unconstitutional the provision in the U.S. tax code that allows clergy to exclude from income tax the portion of their compensation designated for housing ...

Can Flames Compete with Tweets?

Don Remick


Overwhelm: It seems to be a common word these days. News is full of stories that tap deeply into our compassion and concern.  But they are so full of emotion that it becomes hard to keep going.  One more tweet in the daily barrage from the White House sends news media spinning and our Facebook echo chamber buzzing.  As flames consume homes and lives, one more news report of the devastation of a disaster, and our senses are on overload…again.    That tendency to just turn it all off and deal with...

Bringing Spiritual Care to Storm Victims in Florida

Fred Meade


Disaster Resource Team member Fred Meade has been called by the Red Cross once again, this time to provide spiritual care to Hurricane Irma victims in Florida. His daily reflections follow. Check back for regular updates. Monday....Final Posting? I found out this afternoon that this will be my last day of deployment in Fort Myers Florida.  It turns out that I am leaving two days earlier than I had signed up for  It turns out that there just isn’t the need for the number of chaplains we have in ...

It’s Time to Shed the Judgment Leveled at People Sick with the Disease of Addiction

Robert Everett


Recovery Sunday worship is designed to help the church begin to talk about the problems of addiction and to help make the church a safe and welcoming place for anyone affected by these many problems.

Listening to Native Voices: Standing Rock is Everywhere

The Rev. Dr. Margaret Bullitt-Jonas


Hundreds of people – including leaders and elders of Native American tribes from across the U.S. – assembled yesterday under a large tent at Agape, a Christian community in the woods of central Massachusetts that is dedicated to social justice, non-violence, and sustainable living.  We were there to mark the 35th annual celebration of St. Francis Day at Agape, and it was a thrilling, even transformative day, a day of listening, drumming, and sacred ceremony, a day of mourning and celebration.   ...

Save The "Yeah, but....." Until After the Victims are Buried

Amy Lignitz Harken


Somewhere on the other side of the woods is a gun club and, I have heard, someone's personal, private firing range. So my lugubrious coffee-soaked contemplations are frequently punctuated by pops of gunfire.

A Word in Response to the Mass Shooting in Las Vegas

Matthew Crebbin


It’s been nearly five years since the horror at Sandy Hook School and I would not have come this far without prayer.


Don Remick


I am shaken. There are times when words are not adequate. There are times when emotions run so deep and painful that any attempt to express them with words could unleash an uncontrollable flood. I am shaken.  I do not know how to contain the feelings of sorrow, trauma, anger (rage) that come as news and images flood the screen from the shootings at the Las Vegas concert. And tears flow. I might have a little more resilience if I hadn’t also been watching the devastation and emerging agony and ...

Short-Term Mission Trips that Yield Long-Term Success

The Parish Paper


Reporting on the popularity of short-term mission trips, sociologist Robert Wuthnow estimates that in the US, 32 percent of congregations sponsor short-term overseas volunteer trips every year. About a quarter of the US population has taken part in a short-term mission experience at some point in their lifetime.[1] In fact, the prospect of embarking on a short-term mission trip, fueled by well-resourced, energetic people of faith, can be exhilarating for both participants and the community being...

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