Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Pastors for the Pastors

I went to the north end of Toronto on this flakey morning for a meeting. I decided to drive into the deepest, darkest centre of town afterward to see a colleague who underwent surgery yesterday. Crime in the big city? I call eight dollars for an hour's parking major robbery.

The guy I saw serves a nearby pastoral charge and I figured that he was a long way from his support systems, so I would go. Who pastor's pastors anyway? There is no real day-to-day provision for this in our United Church system. He was glad to see me and I could chat with him and pray with him. On the way out I met his wife by the elevator. She was very appreciative of my visit. Who pastors ministers' spouses?

A few weeks ago another colleague had a stroke which was life-threatening for a while. His wife sent out an email asking for privacy. I was in his hospital and decided to pop in the door of his room, say hello, and hastily beat a retreat to respect their wishes. His wife beckoned me in as I was backing out. She too was relieved to have some support and a prayer. Ministers get sick and get scared and need prayer too. So do their families.

Last year we got the results of a major survey on isolation in ministry. While it said that clergy were, for the most part okay, many felt alone in their vocation. The report wasn't much help really because my sense is that while the majority of us learn how to function reasonably well, even in trying circumstances, we are loners and we don't do much to care for one another. I decided that whenever possible I would extend friendship and Christ's presence to my sisters and brothers "of the cloth." I don't know whether it will make much difference but I'm going to try.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Good for you. If you were visiting who I think it was yesterday, I know his wife would have been very appreciative of your visit. Good for you, we all need to make an effor to be more friendly. Too oftern we get caught up in our own lives.