68 Cents on the Dollar

Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Rev. Dr. Craig Howard, Transitional Leader
choward@glpby.org


68 Cents on the Dollar

Princeton Theological Seminary finds themselves in a bind. In March they awarded the Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness to Rev. Dr. Tim Keller. Keller is the founder of a 4,000 member mega-church in New York city. He is part of the conservative Presbyterian Church in America, a denomination that does not believe in ordaining women, or accepting members of the LGBTQ community. Awarding the prize to someone with such conservative views created a firestorm in social media and on the Princeton campus. After receiving a petition in which over 300 Princeton students and faculty signed, Princeton rescinded the award to Keller.

Princeton’s actions even got the attention of The New York Times. In an article entitled, Is Your Pastor Sexist?, Julia Baird writes, “While women are regarded as equals in many mainline Protestant churches, for women in the conservative denominations that still adhere to male leadership, the fight has been difficult and protracted.”

Baird’s assumption that women are regarded as equal in mainline churches, caused me to look at the pastoral compensation statistics for our presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy. Here is what I found.

  • Full-time installed women pastors earn $16,261 less on average than full-time installed men pastors.
  • Women earn 75% of what men earn doing full-time installed ministry.
  • When looking at full-time solo pastors and head-of-staff, Full-time woman pastors earn $20,329 less on average, than full-time men pastors.
  • This means that for every dollar a full-time male solo or head-of-staff pastor earns, a full-time woman counterpart earns 68 cents.
  • Female associate pastors earn $8,835 less on average, than their male counterpart.
  • Female part-time pastors earn more than male part-time pastors, but that is because the amount of earning is so little compared to full-time pastors.

I am confident the gender inequality in our presbytery is reflected in other presbyteries across the denomination. We can parse these numbers and ask questions which will help us better understand the narrative behind the statistics. But in the end two things are certain. First, women are not regarded as equals when it comes to pay for pastoral ministry. Second, as an ethical presbytery that believes in justice, we are called to fix this problem.

Rev. Craig M. Howard

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Kind Word

 

Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Rev. Dr. Craig Howard, Transitional Leader
choward@glpby.org

 


A Kind Word

When it comes to hearing a kind word, our congregations are just like people. They can always use a compliment too! Our congregations can use a word of hope and inspiration to lift their spirits and encourage them to go forward. Steven Burt and Hazel Ann Roper writes about raising church esteem in their book, The Little Church That Could. Don’t be put off by the title. This is a well written and researched book. Their context is the small church (100 members or less) but the idea applies to all congregations.

Like people, congregations face blows to their egos and sometimes doubt their ability to achieve goals and visions. Congregations and church systems may suffer depression after a severe loss. Congregations also experience post traumatic syndrome (PTSD) after a conflict that leaves the church bruised and battered. Burt and Roper write, “There is a strong correlation with the grief process that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross identifies in five states: denial/isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.” As your Presbytery Leader, I have visited congregations struggling with loss of membership, program failures, blaming members and the pastor for their failures (or often the presbytery), and denial of their limitations.

As congregation leaders’  we are called to listen and encourage. We are challenged to help one another see the possibilities that are in each limitation. The role of the presbytery is to come along side each congregation and remind them they are not alone or adrift at sea. Each church is surrounded by the congregations in Giddings-Lovejoy as we bring support in prayer and appropriate resources.

A place to feel the presence of the presbytery is at the Presbytery Gathering, which will be Thursday April 27th at 1:00 at Lovejoy United Presbyterian Church in Wood River IL. The presbytery gathering is a time of fellowship, worship, and a bit of business too! It is a time we encourage one another and remind each other that our challenges are not unique or ignored.

Take the time to register for the gathering by using the link in this newsletter. I look forward to seeing you there and sharing a smile, handshake, and the peace of Christ.

Rev. Craig M. Howard

To register for the April 27, 2017 Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy, please click on this link.

Remembering for Life

Guest Blog by Rev. Dr. Susan Andrews

Interim Pastor at Second Presbyterian Church, St. Louis

REMEMBERING FOR LIFE

I have always had a hard time remembering. When I think back 35 years, I try to remember what my daughter looked like as a baby, and what Halloween costume my son wore in first grade, and which parishioner gave me the candle that I cherish so much. And more often than not, I just can’t remember. Flitting from moment to moment, in a life too full and too fast, I have not always let the grace sink in.

“This do in remembrance of me.” We have heard the words hundreds of times. Again and again we break the bread. Again and again we dip into the cup. Ritual by rote – relentless, repetitive, remote. But, do we remember? Do we remember the body broken for love and the blood shed for reconciliation? Do we remember the friendship and the betrayal, the suffering and the darkness, the darkness and the death – and the elegance of Life? Do we remember the story – the whole story? And does it make any difference?

In my older years, I am digging into my heart to find memories that have been buried – and the stories of my past are beginning to surface – to nourish and complete my life. The past makes sense of the present – and then propels me into an integrated future.

Those asthmatic nights my father held me as I gasped for breath. Which is why the day I trust in a God who can calm any fear.

The joy and safety I felt year in and year out as I sat in worship – a small child barely able to see over the pew. Which is why weekly worship still feeds my soul.

That traumatic crisis that rocked our family when I was 13. Which is why I still have the need to gain control and keep control when uncertainty threatens my predictable world.

The sad fragility of my brother-in-law fading away – as AIDS suffocated his spirit at the age of 41. Which is why death has become for me both a blessing and a curse.

The countless “coincidences” that have led me to each congregation I have been privileged to serve. Which is why I believe in the providence of a wise and dependable God.

Brothers and Sisters, it is by remembering that we gain perspective. It is by remembering that we redeem the past and understand the present.  It is by remembering that we are reminded of the tenacious perseverance of grace in our lives. And it is by remembering that pain and suffering can be healed – and released into the heart of God.

During Holy Week this month, Jesus will once more invite us: “Do this in remembrance of me.” On Maundy Thursday, some of us will share a dying man’s meal and stand at the foot of the cross. On Good Friday, others of us will gather in the dark, and hear the nails shattering the night. But then on Easter morning the music and the flowers and the crowds will abound. And the supper of sadness will be transformed into a feast of joy.

Friends, let us remember it all. Let us relive it all. And let us become it all – for the sake of the world.

Blessings,
Susan

In-N-Out

Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Rev. Dr. Craig Howard, Transitional Leader
choward@glpby.org

 

 


In-N-Out

I spent the weekend in California visiting Marilyn. We spent our time enjoying the wonderful weather and the local eateries. One of my favorite haunts is the “In-N-Out” burger joint. This west coast chain opened in 1945 as a drive through only burger restaurant. Today, In-N-Out can be found in California, Texas, Arizona, and Utah. Now, there is indoor seating to enjoy the meal, as well as the drive-through. 

 What strikes me about In-N-Out is their menu. It only contains three items: burger (single or double), fries, and a drink. Then there are the combinations: single burger with fries and a drink, single cheese burger with fries and a drink, double burger with fries and a drink, double cheeseburger with fries and a drink. 1-2-3 or 4. That’s it. The only question is “Do you want onions?” Furthermore, In-N-Out makes delicious hamburgers! No nuggets, no salad, no wraps. Simple. And they are highly successful. There is always a line inside and cars circle around the building’s drive-through.

 And here is the connection: The primary attraction for millennials to congregations is simplicity and authenticity.  

 In his blog “Reaching Millennials,” Jefferson Bethke writes, “You don’t need the fog and lights to get young people to show up at your church.” He goes on to write about the driving need millennials have for authentic prayer, and theologically sound and biblically based preaching. In the Huffington Post, David Briggs summed it up in the KISS principal: Keep it spiritual, stupid. He writes, “(Millennials) are looking for something that connects to the divine in a palpable way.” 

As we seek ways to draw younger people to our congregations, perhaps the answer to moving forward is looking backward. The answer may not be more bells and whistles, but more emphases on what we know and do well: an experience with God through preaching, prayer, and theological study. This experience may mean an invitation to study or prayerful reflection. It may mean walking a labyrinth or spiritual exploration through small groups. In-N-Out is a reminder that practicing traditional spirituality may be our best hope for engaging in the future. 

Rev. Craig M. Howard