Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Today I just want to say "thanks" to all of you who are my friends.  I really appreciate you guys/gals!  And, as I'm in the process of getting to know a new--ish friend better (someone who really needs friends), I want you all to know that you're awesome because now I have the capacity to be a good friend too!

Also, to those of you who may work in seminary-type environments:  please start telling students that parish ministry is very isolating, even if you're not serving in a geographically isolated area.  It's hard to make friends when you're fresh out of the tight-knit group that is a seminary class.  It's hard to make friends when you're the pastor (or pastor's spouse).  It's hard to make friends when you don't have disposable income or much free time.  Most people don't seem prepared for that shock of isolation, and have no tools for coping other than a telephone call to other friends who are similarly isolated.  People need to know this so they can at least mentally prepare a little!  

And to those of you looking for friends in a new place:  it's hard, but please do it.  It's so worthwhile to have good friends who can support you, challenge you, and all around make you a better person. Take my word for it, I'm lucky to have a bunch.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I get that they can't teach us everything in seminary, but the isolation is something I experience accutely and was totally unprepared for. And often the solutions do require income we do not have - "go take a class" "join the ski club" etc etc.

    No asnwers here, but glad to see it talked about.

  2. My first call was in a place I had lived for fifteen years, and I had a family, and I STILL felt isolated. Clergy friends made all the difference, both IRL and through this blogging world.

  3. Good for you for being a good freind to a new friend! It's always great to be approached in friendship.

  4. This is so true Teri. You are a wonderful friend (and a good travel buddy). Making friends in ministry is a tough. It continues to be tough.

  5. This has been my biggest struggle since leaving seminary. Not figuring out how to moderate a session meeting, or discerning when to respond to a pastoral care need, or wading through all the administrative stuff that comes with being a solo pastor.

    Thanks for naming it.

  6. I agree with the post and with DWG's comment on administration and being a solo minister (with four churches in my case)

    There are strange aspects of administration that I find incredibly stressful: people constantly giving me things to deliver to others and then acting hurt and disappointed if I forget. 'All' you have to do is remember that one thing and you didn't manage. Except it's not one thing, it's 30 things.

    I once had an incidence where Person A drove past Person B's house to give me an envelope to give to Person B. The only problem is that Person B doesn't go to any of my churches and I never see him unless I intentionally seek him out. Bizarre. A friend of mine says that he responds to requests to deliver letters by saying 'OK, I'll put a stamp on it and stick it in the mail'. Why do people think we should be their mail carriers?

    It drives me to distraction trying to remember a bunch of little things that aren't necessary for me to do.