Why Your Pastor Isn’t In… #notinmyoffice

#notinmyoffice

“I came by your office, but you weren’t there…” Yep! For awhile I’ve been thinking about all of my amazing colleagues in ministry and all of the ways they are out in the world healing, caring, advocating, spreading good news. Where’s your pastor? Here are just a few places he or she might be! I loved reading each and every one of these stories. Thank you to all of the wonderful pastors who contributed!  Didn’t get yours in on time? Share your contribution with the hashtag #notinmyoffice

  • Rev. Greg Allen-Pickett, Director of Global Mission, First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta: If I’m not in my office I might be helping to resettle a refugee family with some incredible volunteers from my church.
  • Rev. Shimiko Montgomery, Associate Pastor, Bend Church: If I’m not in the office, I can often be found working with young women who are experiencing homelessness making prayer bead necklaces as a way to earn a small income in a supportive community. 
  • Rev. Sarah Renfro, Pastor of Family Ministries, Geist Christian Church, Fishers, IN: If I’m not in the office, I can be found leading body image workshops and retreats.
  • Rev. Nick Larson, Broadway Christian Church, Columbia, MO: I’m not in my office, I might be sitting with people in their own world, reflecting and discovering the ways God is already working there.
  • Rev. Renee Roederer, Organizer of Michigan Nones and Dones: If I’m not in my office, I might be having conversation over coffee with a person who left church (or got ousted), who seeks to connect to spiritual community again, although differently and with much to teach all of us.
  • Rev. Erin Hittle, Chaplain, Avalon Square, Waukesha, Wisconsin:  If I’m not in the office, I might be visiting with a resident who just moved into the memory care unit, listening to her talk about her bowel movements and how they didn’t have birth control in her day.
  • Rev. Lisa Lopez, Christ Presbyterian Church, Hanover Park, IL: If I’m not in the office, I may be attending a court hearing for a parishioner who needs support at a trying time, or talking to the administrators at a local elementary school to organize partnership opportunities, or leading small group with young adults somewhere their friends would actually go.
  • Rev. Hannah McIntyre, Associate Pastor, The Presbyterian Church of Danville: If I’m not in the office I may be busy developing a relationship with the youth of the church by attending sports games, having coffee, going to plays, or just interacting with them out in the community.
  • Rev. Niki Brodeur, Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Greensburg, PA: If I’m not in the office, I may be busy reading and researching for a book I’m writing on clergy and mental illness.
  • Rev. Katy Stenta, Pastor, New Covenant Presbyterian, Albany, NY: If I’m not in the office I might be running a community playgroup (with my children’s help) or coordinating the church’s Farmers Market in our parking lot.
  • Rev. Rob Monroe, Director of Children, Youth and Family Ministries, First Presbyterian Church, Kirkwood, MO: If I’m not in the office I am at sporting events at our local schools, rooting for students and building relationships with parents.
  • Rev. Tully Mack Fletcher, Associate Pastor for Youth and Young Adults, Orangewood Presbyterian Church, Phoenix, AZ: If I’m not in the office I am out doing my job. Meeting with people helping them to grow their faith. Or attending events/sports games/recitals/plays for the Youth. Or building houses. Or doing Presbytery Work. When I am in the office I’m probably not doing my job
  • Rev. Cynthia Betz-Bogoly, Pastor, Elkins Park, PA: If I am not in the office I am preaching at a local nursing home for residents unable to attend Sunday mornings due to mobility and memory impairment issues. 
  • Rev. Jessica Gibo, Chaplain Pacific Health MinistryIf I’m not in my office I may be at home sleeping after being up with a family half the night grieving the death of their loved one.
  • Rev. Allison Becker, PCUSA: If I’m not in my office I might be visiting with a family who just lost their loved one, meeting local business leaders to strengthen relationships with our neighbors, or at the local seminary/school/library continuing my Call to study deeply and faithfully prepare for Sunday as we gather again each week!
  • The Rev. Dr. Maria Kane, Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Waldorf, MD: I might be having breakfast with a kindergartner…I might be supporting a family in court…I might be sitting with a parishioner in the doctor’s office awaiting test results…I might be driving in my car, fighting back tears, raising my fists to the sky, and pleading with God for those whose pain never seems to end…I might be calling a friend who makes me laugh and reminds me God has had this under control for a long time.
  • Rev. Mary Newberg Gale, First Presbyterian Church, Lawrence, Kansas: If I’m not in the office I can often be found meeting with city officials, community groups, and other clergy to work toward addressing the shortage of affordable housing in our community. 
  • Rev. Katie Z. Dawson, Immanuel UMC, Des Moines, Iowa: When I’m not in the office, I might be helping to lead our connectional church in hard conversations that will impact who and how someone is welcomed (or not) in our church in the near future. …serving communion at a nearby care center…reading to first grade students at our neighborhood elementary school… Serving on the board of our Des Moines Area Religious Council and working with our shared food pantries because we believe no one should be hungry.
  • Rev. Katie Russell, Broadway Christian Church, Council Bluffs, IA: If I’m not in my office, I might be committing the body of a beloved child of God back to the earth…comforting those who are left to grieve…standing in the shadow of death and testifying to the hope we have in the promise of resurrection.
  • The Rev. Dana Blouch-Hanson, Pastor, Zion Lutheran Church, Newville, PA: If I’m not in the office, I might be at the local diner sharing a meal and listening to someone from the community who needs to talk.
  • The Rev. Ruth A. Popkin, Pastor, Salem Lutheran Church, Hitterdal, MN: If I am not in my office, I might be leading an introduction to knitting and crocheting class at the local social services’ agency, in which the group is working together to make chemo caps for the local cancer centers.
  • Rev. Stephen McKinney-Whitaker, Pastor, Peoria, IL: When I’m not in my office I might be doing interfaith work with diverse faith communities and local leaders to promote peace, partnership, love, and respect in our communities.
  • Rev Naomi Sease Carriker, Associate Pastor, Morning Star Lutheran Church, Matthews, NC: If I’m not in the office, I might be found in the local Starbucks inside the target holding off site office hours where I have conversations and share prayers with parishioners and non-parishioners who are out doing their shopping.
  • Rev. Carla Gregg-Kearns, Good Shepherd UCC, Cary, NC: If I’m I’m not in my office, I might be taking a pastoral walk with a congregant.
  • Rev. McKinna Daugherty, Altoona Christian Church, Altoona, IA: If I’m not in my office, I might be at a gathering with other area clergy…I might be meeting a parishioner for coffee…I might be at therapy because that’s what I need regularly in order to serve my congregation best. …I might be at the food pantry serving the hungry in our community…I might be at the gym because I have an evening meeting later…I might be at the nursing home visiting the folks who can’t get out.
  • Rev. Jennifer Wilder, Pastor, Broadview Baptist Church, Sunderland MD: If I’m not in the office, I am enjoying one-on-one meetings with leaders we’ve identified in the county as key partners in the changes we can ONLY do together, unified across religious perspective, geography, issue, race, age, and other differences that typically divide us into camps.
  • Rev. Elsa A. Peters, St. Peter’s UCC, Knauertown, PA: If I’m not in my office, and I’m not usually in my office, I am trying really hard to figure out the future of the church. I read books and write big thoughts as I try to encourage the small church I’m serving as an interim pastor to imagine what God is calling to them to become.
  • Rev. Lara Blackwood Pickrel, Associate Minister, First Christian Church of Smithville, MO: If I’m not in my office, I might be holding a sign proclaiming God’s love for our refugee neighbors at a political rally.
  • Rev. Rachel Helgeson: If I’m not in my office I might be at the jail providing pastoral care to inmates and their families.
  • Rev. Robyn Bles, Associate Minister, West Des Moines Christian Church, West Des Moines, IA: If I’m not in the office, I might be volunteering with children with special needs. We might be reading books, playing games or going for walks, or I might be at a local coffee shop listening for what God wants to say in my next sermon as I listen for God working within the community.
  • Rev Heather Godsey, Program Director, Wesley Foundation University of TN, Knoxville, TN: If I’m not in the office, I might be at the library listening to students’ stories while encouraging them to take a break and de-stress by coloring with me.
  • Rev. Jessica Crane Munoz, Vinton, Iowa: If I’m not in the office, I might be writing a workbook on how churches can re-envision their mission and vision statements.
  • The Rev. Shannon Speidel, Associate Minister, Central Christian Church, Enid, OK: If I’m not in the office, I might be lobbying legislators in support of women’s access to support systems to better their lives. –When I’m not in the office, I might be visiting with community organizations to plan programs that meet the needs of our neighbors.
  • The Rev. Rebekah Hatch, Rector, St Alban’s, Simsbury, CT: If I’m not in my office, I might be taking a transient visitor to an AA meeting and to lunch; or, having lunch with a nearby school administrator.
  • Rev. Lyndsey McCall future Director of Youth Ministry at First Presbyterian Church Virginia Beach: If I’m not in the office, I might be at at a continuing education event that refreshes, excites and empowers me to do the ministry I feel called to do.
  • Rev. Melissa St. Clair, Heart of the Rockies Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Fort Collins, CO: If I’m not in my office, I might be taking a young adult in crisis to the drop-in mental health clinic. When I’m not in my office, I might be at Daz Bog discussing questions about the existence of God with one of our high schoolers. When I’m not in my office, I might be at a Faith Family Hospitality board meeting helping families experiencing homelessness become self-sufficient. When I’m not in my office, I might be at another congregation in our region listening to their hopes and dreams for our region and our next regional minister.
  • Rev. Erin Clausen, Pastor, St. James Lutheran Church, Western Springs, IL: If I’m not in my office, I might be helping a senior grapple with the spiritual and emotional realities of aging, or a helping a young adult grapple with issues of joblessness.
  • Rev. Katie Hargis, Rector of St. Cornelius’ Episcopal Church Dodge City, KS : If I’m not in my office I might be volunteering at the local elementary school where 95% of the kids are immigrants, helping to bring art and other opportunities to them that they might not otherwise ever have.
  • Rev. Katie Barrett Todd, Dunbar Presbyterian Church, Dunbar, NE: If I’m not in my office, I might be collaborating with pastors from across the country to create the Montreat Youth Conference theme and write the Small Group Leader manual for this summer.
  • Rev. Susannah DeBenedetto, Director of Cooperative Youth Ministry: If I’m not in my office, I might be watching a middle school softball game or a high school musical.
  • Rev. Katrina Paxson, Pastor at Beulah UMC in Valley, Alabama: I’m not in my office, I might be gathering with other clergy, getting support and ideas so I can be a better pastor for you.
  • Rev. Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Senior Pastor, First Church Congregational, Rochester: When I’m not in my office, I might be designing coloring pages to bring our scriptures to life in new ways, for God’s children of all ages.
  • Rev. Allison Unroe, Pastor, Fairlawn Presbyterian Church in Radford, VA: If I’m not in my office, I might be working to Incite Safety by ending sexual assault and domestic violence.
  • Rev. Iona Dickinson. Pastor University City United Church (UCC) San Diego: When I’m not in my office I might be reading stories to kids in our preschool.
  • The Rev. Suzanne P. Miller, Local Coordinator for InterExchange Au Pair USA in Raleigh, NC:  When I’m not in my office, I might be meeting with an au pair to discuss culture shock or what classes to take while she is in the US, or I might be counseling host families and au pairs about ways to navigate cultural differences and promote cultural exchange.
  • Rev. Kedron Nicholson, Rector, Grace Episcopal Church, Orange Park, FL: When I’m not in my office, I might be standing on the street talking to the fire department, police chief or neighbors about how to revitalize our street and offer kids a place to play.
  • Rev. Kimberly Reinholz associate for service campus ministry pastoral care and mommy: When I’m not in my office I might be meeting with students, faculty, or staff at the university. Or I might be meeting with grant recipients of congregational development grants. Or I might be in Belize on a mission trip. Or I might be meeting with one of our homeless guests. Or I might be leading our weekly healing service. Or I might be feeding, bathing or caring for my toddler.
  • Rev. Lauren Evans, Parish Associate of Congregational Care, La Verne, CA: If I’m not in my office, I may be holding and praying over someone’s premie baby, sitting in a court room with a parent whose daughter is facing a serious charge, or at the bedside of a woman on hospice, as she recounts the stories of her life and we look for God’s presence within them.
  • The Rev. Beth Scriven, Rockwell House Episcopal Campus Ministry in St. Louis: If I’m not in the office, I might be at the grocery store, buying the food I will cook to feed students’ bodies and souls.
  • Rev. Erica Schemper, Director of Children, Youth, and Family Ministries, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, San Carlos, CA: If I’m not in my office, I’m often running errands in preparation for youth and children’s events and activities: for those of us who do programmatic ministries, like children and youth, there are often lots and lots of “materials” that you can’t just order and have delivered.
  • Rev. Sarah Trone Garriott: If I’m not in the office I may be meeting with clergy colleagues to study scripture, share our insights on ministry to help one another grow, or support one another in our struggles.
  • Rev. Kathleen Anderson: If I’m not in the office… I might be helping a woman move her and her children away from their abusive spouse. If I’m not in the office… I might be in the kitchen doing the dishes from last night’s fundraising supper.If I’m not in the office… I might be at the store buying a patching cable for the sound system that broke (again).
  • Rev. Elizabeth Grasham: If I’m not in the office, I might be meeting with the Regional Committee on Ministry, which guides the ordination process for dozens of candidates in our care.
  • The Rev. Jordan Haynie Ware, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Fort Worth, TX: If I’m not in my office, I might be negotiating a Full Communion agreement with another denomination to share resources for the future, build on our understanding of God, and model reconciliation for the healing of the nations.
  • Pastor Katey Schwind, First Presbyterian Church, Boise, ID: If I’m not in my office, I might be out gathering supplies for a sensory worship experience or a hands-on church school lesson. Pastor Katey Schwind, First Presbyterian Church, Boise, ID
  • Rev. Heather Gerbsch Daugherty, Associate Chaplain, Trevecca Nazarene University, Nashville, TN: If I’m not in my office, I might be having coffee with a student who needs someone to listen to them and tell them that they are loved.  
  • Pastor Kay Rohloff, Scandian Grove Lutheran Church, St. Peter, MN: If I’m not in my office, I might be writing a lesson for my new confirmation curriculum for congregations with small, low tech programs.
  • Rev. Karen Hernadez, Kuna United Methodist Church, Kuna, Idaho: If I’m not in my office, I might be in a nearby town sharing lunch with a young man who grew up in this congregation and is now struggling with homelessness, depression, addiction, recovery, guilt, and shame. If I’m not in my office, I might be standing on the steps of the State Capitol at a prayer vigil for human rights. If I’m not in my office, I might be reading to kids (and parents) at the public library story time as a volunteer. If I’m not in my office, I might be at City Hall in a planning meeting for community events, grants, and more!
  • Rev. Heather Prince Doss: If I’m not in my office I might be teaching about Jesus and Judaism on the Southern Steps of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
  • Rev. Beth Martini, Christ Lutheran Church, Duncannon PA: If I’m not at the office, I might be out talking to Appalachian Trail hikers and inviting them to our meals.
  • Rev. Danae Ashley, Associate Priest & Marriage and Family Therapist, St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Seattle, WA: If I’m not in my office, I might be leading a fertility journey support group that reaches far beyond our church walls or having lunch/coffee with someone we are forming a community partnership with to eradicate poverty and homelessness.
  • Rev. Eliza Buchakjian-Tweedy, Senior Pastor, First Church Congregational, Rochester NH: If I’m not in my office, I might be delivering ashes or communion to local business owners who can’t come to our scheduled services.
  • Rev. Mindi Welton-Mitchell, Pastor, Burien Community Church, Burien, WA If I’m not in my office, I might be meeting with the Superintendent of Schools, discussing how we can meet the needs of our immigrant students, students in poverty, disabled students, and others, because Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me… it is to such that the kingdom of Heaven belongs.”
  • Rev. Heidi Carrington Heath, Associate Pastor, First Parish Congregational Church (UCC), East Derry, NH: If I’m not in my office, I might be holding office hours at a coffee shop in the community bringing church or offering care to folks outside of our building
  • Rev. Traci Smith, Pastor, Northwood Presbyterian Church, San Antonio: If I’m not in my office, I might be offering ashes to go!

 If your pastor isn’t in the office, s/he might be changing the world! #notinmyoffice