By Anita Philips.
What does the Lord require of us? According to Micah 6:8, we are required to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God. The Editorial Circle of Wellsprings, in considering issues of importance to United Methodist clergywomen, chose this scripture to be the focus of the current issue. Our discussions and discernments of what it means to be faithful and responsive to what God requires of us led us to consider four aspects of this simple scripture that seem to have special application to us as clergywomen. These four are: effectiveness, inclusiveness, accountability, and support. You will find these concepts woven throughout the many pieces of this WellSprings issue as our writers consider Micah’s vital question.
By Hee An Choi.
When people are called to ministry, salary is not the first thing they consider in their hearts. The common assumption in Christian ministry is that pastors should expect to “leave everything behind,” including material possessions and personal comforts. Discussions of pastor salaries have long been taboo in Christian ministry practices in many denominations. While salaries are the first and the most important issue for personal well-being in secular society, salaries are the last and least important issue for a pastor’s well-being in the practice of ministry. As a result, very little research has been conducted on this issue. In fact, this study is the first research on pastor salaries in The United Methodist Church that considers crucial multifaceted contexts, such as race, gender, conference context, seniority, and others.
By Libba Stinson.
Over the centuries Native peoples have planted, eaten, and revered squash, corn, and beans as nature’s life-sustaining gifts. They are known throughout traditional teachings as the “Three Sisters.” Native American legends tell of the spirits of the Three Sisters safeguarding and blessing the harvests of these three crops. The sisters are said to be inseparable, a blessing to be planted, eaten, and celebrated together.
By Minerva G. Carcaño.
A beloved aunt of mine recently reminded me that when I was in high school, she had told me that wherever I led, all my cousins in my large extended family would follow me. There was a tone of responsibility in her statement, and it made me shudder. I vaguely remembered it, and began to immediately think about whether I had led well. I was, in my head, going through my relationships with the long list of my cousins when she continued, saying in a pensive way, “I wish they had followed you . . .”
By Cynthia Harvey.
When God called Nehemiah, God did not call him to simply manage a project; God called Nehemiah to lead and do so boldly. I believe that is the same kind of bold leadership God calls us to today. God calls us to lead from within with vision and with purpose. God calls us to leadership that requires risk, that takes us to places and decisions that stretch us—and takes us beyond our comfort zone.
By Mary Ann Moman.
It was the middle of the night, and we were gathered in the hospital room. One of my parishioners was dying. Her family rotated in and out of the room, each taking turns holding her hand and often saying prayers out loud. Her husband of more than fifty years recited Psalm 23. I was their pastor, and I was eight months pregnant. I stood with the family as death was imminent, my belly swollen with new life.
By Susan W. N. Ruach.
In a recent conversation, a friend shared that he has started taking a class in watercolor painting. “I’m learning patience,” he said, “because you have to wait for the paint to get really dry between each color.” Later he acknowledged that he suspected it would also help him with patience in other areas of his life. That conversation got me thinking about what I have learned from my own creative endeavors.
By Joaquina Filipe Nhanala.
African sayings, stories, recalling to memory conversation of the elders in my family, are among my sources for self-education to aid in understanding what is important, as well as the expectations of my fellow African Christians as I use them as a source for the communication of the Gospel. Coupled with this are the informative thoughts that come from my participation in young people’s meetings as well as visits I have received from them.
By Nerissa Palafox.
Accountability is the after- the- fact ownership of the results of all our endeavors. It is the commitment to honestly explain why things were done in a particular way. Accountability also includes accepting the consequences of decisions made to meet a specific agreement, ministry, or mission.
By Molly Fraser.
Guaranteed full-time appointment is concurrently entering my reality, as it is on the table to be voted out. I write from the perspective of a white, thirty-five-year-old, first-year provisional member of the Pacific Northwest Annual Conference. When I was commissioned last year, our conference made it clear that they did not have full-time appointments available to newly commissioned members. The tide has changed. Thus, I am grateful that upon graduation (June 2011), I look forward to a full-time appointment.