Category Archives: Cooler with a Collar

Lady Pastor





“And what’s your job here?” asked the strange woman in my office.

She had no way of knowing, I suppose, although let’s be honest: we were in a church building, so the choices were rather limited.

I tried to smile as I said, “I’m one of the pastors.”

I almost never introduce myself as the “associate pastor”, even though that’s what I am. My wonderful colleague always introduces me as his “partner”, and I appreciate that a lot. He is twenty years ahead of me in age and experience, but he still sees me as a partner and communicates that to everybody else. (Pro Tip: This is rarer than it should be.)


“Lady pastor.”

But I have noticed recently that many other people refer to me as “the lady pastor.” This happens more often in St. James than it did in Litchfield. I suspect this is because in my two country churches, I was the only pastor, and here I am one of two. And, in addition to our many differences (personality, preaching style, height), our gender identities are different, too. Continue reading


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Win Some, Lose Some (Church Edition)

Losing: Someone breaks into your country church.

Winning: The only thing the person steals is the church’s microwave, which may be older than you are.

Pastoring: You wonder where the sermon illustration is.

Siam Ocean World Microwave oven

This would be an excellent way to use your new microwave, church burglar.

See also: Win Some, Lose Some (Parenting Edition).

Your turn: Any funny break-in stories to share?

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Pajama Clericals

As I have mentioned, I sometimes wear a clerical collar.  And as any woman who does the same will tell you, the shirts that go with these collars are designed for men to wear.  It is very tough to find one that fits right, feels right, and looks good.

Now, if I just wanted to look cute, I would not wear a clergy shirt at all, right?  So, I’m not saying that this shirt has to be super fashionable, adorable, or even versatile–I’m just saying it has to look like it’s intended for a woman to wear.  I don’t want people to ask, as a friend’s children did the first time she donned the clerical shirt, “What do you wanna wear Dad’s shirt for?”

All the clergy shirts I wear these days are from WomenSpirit, a small company that, as their name implies, strives to make shirts that actually work on women’s bodies.  Not all of the shirts are winners, of course, but there are a few that have served me well.

And not too long ago they came out with a new one:

image via

It’s the knit clergy blouse!  Womenspirit is clearly going for a more “fashionable”, modern take on the clergy shirt, and this picture left me pretty skeptical.  But when my wonderful mother bought me one, I was pleasantly surprised.

The “tunic” style is not as weird and maternityesque as I feared.  The length of the shirt and sleeves is maybe slightly too long, but since I am short and round I expected them to be even longer.  Most important, the shirt fits and feels great! “Never tight or restricting,” just like the website promised.  It is so comfortable it’s almost too comfortable–luckily, I am still wearing a collar around my neck, so I remember where I am and what I’m doing.

Is this my new favorite shirt?  No.  Is this my new favorite clergy shirt?  Heck yes.

And, no, Womenspirit is not paying me to endorse their product.  But if they would like me to try it out in the charcoal gray, I would be happy to accept a sample.

Update: Per your request, dear reader, here is a photo of me, a regular pastor, wearing my new fave clergy shirt:

Why I Don't Have a Style Blog (exhibit A)

Apologies for my ghostly pallor and cheesy pose!  The goal is just to give you an idea of how the shirt fits me versus how it fits the lovely model.  Photo by Mike, while he sat at our desk with Zoe on his lap.  I think the closet door background gives it a little something, don’t you?


Filed under Cooler with a Collar, Ministry Matters

Cooler with a Collar

In seminary, we spent a lot of time talking about this little number:

Zoe claims her pastoral authority

The clerical collar.  Should we wear one?  When should we wear one?  Should we wear a full collar (pictured) or a tab collar (not pictured, because I went with the full collar).  What are we saying when we do or do not wear the collar on Sunday morning, to the hospital, to the office, to the grocery store?

Some pastors wear their collars every day.  It’s a symbol of vocation, a visible sign of who they are.  Some pastors never, ever wear a collar.  Some pastors wear them only on Sundays, or only for weddings and funerals, or only for their driver’s license photo (pro tip: this may get you out of a speeding ticket one day, although in my experience being genuinely surprised that you were going that fast or genuinely sorry about it work pretty well, too).

I wear my collar just about every time I preach and / or lead worship, which means every Sunday, one or two Thursdays a month, weddings, funerals, and every Wednesday in Lent.  I sometimes wear it for hospital visits, and for other occasions when I want to look especially pastor-y.  “In my context” (as we say at the seminary), I believe the collar helps identify me as the pastor, both to others and to myself, and that this is helpful and positive.

And sometimes, it just comes in handy.  For example:

Last week, on my way to an unexpected hospital visit before leading worship at the assisted living center in Cosmos, I realized that I needed wine.  So at 12:45 PM on a Thursday I dashed into the liquor store, bought a four-pack of small wine bottles, drove to the hospital, and refilled my communion wine bottle in the parking lot.  Since I didn’t want to spill on myself, I did this sitting in my car with the door open, holding the wine bottles outside the car.

Now, I am not saying that pouring one small bottle of wine into an even smaller bottle was a classy thing to do in the Meeker Memorial parking lot.  I am saying that doing this while wearing a clerical collar is a lot less weird than doing it while not wearing the collar.  See?  Handy!

And in case you were wondering, those lucky enough to share a foretaste of the feast to come from my communion kit in the next few weeks will be enjoying Yellow Tail Shiraz.

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