68 Cents on the Dollar

Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Rev. Dr. Craig Howard, Transitional Leader

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 After receiving a petition in which over 300 Princeton students and faculty signed, Princeton rescinded the award to Keller.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


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


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.


Race: A Difficult but Necessary Conversation

Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy
Rev. Dr. Craig Howard, Transitional Leader



Two weeks ago, the Dismantling Racism and Privilege team (DRAP) sponsored a drama performance entitled, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” The performance was at Cote Brillante, an African American Presbyterian church located on the Northside of St. Louis. The attendance was outstanding! There was a good mix of African American and European American Presbyterians in the audience. Afterward, DRAP had the audience form small groups of three and four people, and answer three questions. The small groups were intentionally mixed with both African American and European American participants. Each question received about 45 responses from all the small groups. The answers paint a diverse yet similar picture of the members of our presbytery.

As I read the full survey results, I realize the presbytery must find the courage to have a conversation about race. Racism is not just a St. Louis problem. Racism is also hiding under the rug in Cape Girardeau and tucked away in the cabinets in Sikeston. It is present in sleepy Pacific and the refineries of Wood River. Since arriving in Giddings-Lovejoy, I learned of Sundown Towns, where African Americans had to be gone from the area by sundown. Although these laws are now off the books, the towns and this history are part of this presbytery and its history.

At the same time, I’m pleased to report that as I have traveled throughout Giddings-Lovejoy, my experience in each congregation has been one of hospitality and kindness. We have great leaders and members of our congregations.

However, racism and all its ugly tentacles is nevertheless still alive and well in the geographic area of Giddings-Lovejoy.

I believe the future of the church is diversity. The future of our country is diversity. And I believe that’s part of why you called me to serve with you as your Transitional Presbytery Leader. We can either follow the demographic patterns of our communities and our nation, or become a cottage industry catering to a decreasing racial-ethnic group in a smaller and smaller slice of the American pie.

A conversation about race in every corner of the presbytery is the beginning of living into the future.

Now, listen to a few of the voices of the people at the performance. They are African American and European American; young and old; of different economic classes and backgrounds. They are Presbyterians. Some answers are inspiring, and others are surprising.

Here are the three questions, followed by some of answers that were provided.

  1. Some people say that talking about race creates divisions. What do you think?  Should we talk about race?
  • Talking about race does not create division, but it may make people uncomfortable.
  • It may make people think about their part in promoting racism.
  • There’s no chance of getting past race (understanding it) until we talk about it to get to the real issues: Issues of privilege, power, and class.
  • There’s more division when we don’t communicate.
  1. What is the Church’s role regarding social issues?
  • Make sure that people understand that Christ spoke out on social issues. The church should follow Christ’s example.
  • The church’s role is to educate and lead.
  • To stop being so segregated on Sunday.
  • Social issues should not be the church’s main function. We are to spend our time “in church” focusing on God.
  1. What are you afraid of today? What keeps us from going out?
  • Afraid of dying young.
  • Rejection
  • Isolation
  • Lack of support.
  • Cloudy climate.
  • Loss of identity, status.
  • Elimination
  • Crime is a fear.
  • Rapidly changing pace due to technology.
  • Government leadership is negative.
  • Afraid of all congregations shrinking because church is not a priority. Families are not coming.
  • Stigmitization
  • Discrimination