"Surviving, Thriving, and Even Celebrating in Ministry: A Gathering for Clergy Spouses"

Posted Apr 19, 2016 | Academy of Preaching and Celebration

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A report for clergy spouses and those that support clergy spouses.

By Joyce Thomas

In April, 2015, The Academy of Preaching and Celebration (APC), as a part of their programming for clergy family, hosted a group of pastors’ spouses for a time of rest, relaxation, and dialogue on the topic of “The Role of The Clergy Spouse”. It was a gathering for spouses to have fellowship with other spouses in a safe and confidential space that allowed them to express their own unique call to serve in their congregations, ministries, or family lives. Plus, they could have permission to be themselves and not worry about being judged or misunderstood. Dr. Joyce S. Thomas, associate director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration, proposed five questions for discussion during the event:

1) What has been the traditional role of a clergy spouse and how has it changed?
2) What is your role as clergy spouse in ministry with your congregation?
3) What are you celebrating as you experience ministry in your congregation?
4) What kind of help/support do you need to continue thriving in ministry, if any?
5) What kind of support can the seminary offer to help you thrive?

The results of that dialogue and gathering have been documented in booklet form to share with other spouses of pastors’, and those who support pastors’ spouses, entitled “Surviving, Thriving and Even Celebrating in Ministry: A Gathering for Clergy Spouses”.
The voices of the spouses were recorded during the sessions and they each shared interesting and thought provoking information about their roles as a pastor’s spouse. Many of them were no longer adhering to the tradition of sitting on the front row, ready and waiting to fulfill whatever role the congregation had for them. They were now reflecting on their own gifts and taking leadership roles in the church. Some were even following their passions and interests outside the church. Yet they were all excited about partnering in ministry with their clergy spouse. This is truly a paradigm shift for many spouses, and the “Surviving, Thriving, and Even Celebrating” booklet tells how these particular spouses have shifted away from the role traditionally filled by the pastor’s spouse.

The Academy of Preaching and Celebration is extremely pleased and excited about the results of this gathering and would like to share the information with others. It is a phenomenal piece of work and APC invites those who are interested to take a look at the booklet. Please contact the Academy of Preaching and Celebration for a free copy. Also, APC plans to continue dialoguing with clergy spouse throughout the year to support, discuss and share wisdom about the role of clergy spouse.

If you are a clergy spouse and would like to join us in our gatherings, or, if you interested in the results of this “Gathering 2015 Booklet”, you can email Amelia Walker at awalker@cts.edu or Joyce Thomas at jthomas@cts.edu. You may also call us at (317) 931-2319.

Dr. Joyce Scott Thomas is the Associate Director of the Academy of Preaching and Celebration.

The Academy of Preaching and Celebration at CTS seeks to generate excellence in preaching and worship. To request permission to repost this content, please contact awalker@cts.edu.

1 Comment

  1. 1 sonia 12 May
    Dear Dr Joyce
    This session in 2015 has change my life for the better as a clergy spouse, thank you for taking time out investing in us.

    Thank you

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