This is my first week of doing the 7 Quick Takes and I guess my topic will be rules from your friendly neighborhood pastor’s wife/khouria/preoteasa/rebbetzin. (Let’s assume for this exercise that the clergy spouse is female, OK?) Keep in mind that this is written a bit tongue-in-cheek.
01.) Thou shalt remember that you called the pastor, not the pastor’s wife. Our husbands are the ones with the call to ministry — not us. We’re the bonus you get. Our primary role is to support our pastor husbands and if we have any energy left over (which isn’t much at the moment in my case), we’ll plug ourselves into the church.
02.) Thou shalt not use us as our husband’s answering service. If you have something to tell Pastor Husband, you need to tell HIM. Telling me is a bad idea — I have a bad short-term memory and it just looks silly to have me standing outside the sanctuary with a notebook so you can write down messages for the pastor.
03.) Thou shalt respect the pastor’s day off. Pastor Husband works on Sunday so he gets a day off during the week — it’s in the Letter of Call. This day is to be used to be with family, take care of errands, make appointments, and have a life. The pastor *WILL* respond to genuine pastoral emergencies which are the following: death, hospitalization, and fire. If none of those apply, wait until the next day.
04.) Thou shalt pray for the pastor’s family that they have the patience and that which they need to best live up to the expectations of parishioners. We live in a fishbowl. Our lives are on public display whether we like it or not and regardless of whether the parish is respectful of our boundaries. We’re human and we can ALWAYS use prayers, especially to deal with our human condition and find ways to overcome it and be the saints that people expect us to be.
05.) Thou shalt not drop by the parsonage unannounced. The parsonage is our home. It is not an extension of the church — it is the place where we are entitled to our privacy. If you want to have coffee with me, call me and ask. The answer might be “yes” if the wee bairn is having a good day. The answer might be “no” if the wee bairn is asleep and the pastor’s wife is dealing with a nasty fibromyalgia flare-up. Bottom line: call first. It’s the polite thing to do.
06.) Thou shalt not badmouth other people to the pastor’s wife. Pastor Husband doesn’t tell me what he hears in counselling sessions and I prefer it that way. Thus, I don’t know who in the parish is an alcoholic and who in the parish is going through a messy divorce. I prefer this and I would rather not have people tell me these things out-of-turn because it’s none of my business. It also creates the problem of someone trashing people so often that the one time they have something valid, it gets ignored because it’s regarded as just another useless piece of gossip.
07.) Thou shalt love thy pastor’s wife and their family. Seriously, it makes it easier on all of us if you love us and make us feel welcome. It’s hard to get a baby fed and clothed in addition to making myself look like I haven’t just rolled out of bed. Please make my efforts to make it to church worthwhile. It means I’ll make a more concerted effort to be there and I’ll be in a better mood.