Saturday, July 14, 2007

Pastor's Wife

Dave's been ordained for just over 5 years now. So I guess that makes me a Pastor's wife for just over 5 years now. Whenever we meet up with friends we haven't seen for sometime they inevitably ask, "So what's it like being a Pastor's wife?"

Dave and I were involved in mission work prior to his becoming a pastor. We have always been involved in any of the churches we were a part of (4 prior to becoming a pastor). I've done VBS, taught Sunday School, been on Women's committees so when I became a "Pastor's wife" it wasn't a great leap for me to be involved in the church. It wasn't really, in my mind, a matter of being the "Pastor's wife." It was a matter of being a member of the church.

But in the minds of the congregation....some things are just expected. Subtly, unconsciously expected. My first understanding of this tacit knowledge was the Women's Association. There are many positions involved in the Women's Association. This is an ancient group of gals who go by the rules, follow the book and meet every month. There is a position on this board called "Ex Officio." I didn't know this but the "Pastor's wife" is expected to hold this position. She is expected to come to the meetings, add input but has absolutely no voting power. Our first year here I never attended the meetings because I didn't have this understanding in my experience. I suppose the other members of the association assumed I understood what the role of an "ex officio" would entail. Our second year here I learned what was expected of me. Our third year here I changed the rules and asked that if I have to come to meetings, have an opinion I should have a vote and it shouldn't be assumed that the "pastor's wife" will fill this role. Apparently my opinion has some weight because those items were added to our guidelines.

Our 4th year here I became the co-coordinator of the kitchen. This involves arranging dinners which the women's association directs - mother/daughter banquet, funerals, etc. Half way through my term the head coordinator left the church (over a personal issue which should be another blog - why people leave the church when they live in a small town and have no where else to go. I'm debating whether to write on this. I may get a little snarky.) My 5th year here, just about to end, I am the coordinator of the Kitchen and moderator of the women's association. I started out as the co-moderator but the moderator left...so I've been filling in.

Now the short of the story...I am saying no more involvement in the women's association. It is an institution in our church whose day has long gone and no one in my age group or younger (which doesn't include very many) wish to be a part of. It follows old rules and bygone ways of control. The sad thing is the association would like the younger women to come along side, YET they don't want anything to change - keep moderating the work of the women the same way it's been done for the last 125 years. And we (the younger women) don't have the patience for it.

So when I answer friends who ask about my new role I say it's been a learning curve. My first year and a half a laid back, not doing too much. My 2nd, 3rd and 4th year I took on more and my 5th year I regretted it and now am scaling back to what I truly enjoy - teaching. There is so much I could divulge about the underworld of Pastor's wives...that's for another day.

1 comment:

Paul Merrill said...

Barb, your church is a gem in a small town!

I wish more people there were thankful for your ministry there and for Dave's.