In Oklahoma an Episcopal pastor eyes new programs

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A joyful and adventurous leader has taken the helm of St. Basil’s Episcopal Church.

The Rev. Debora Jennings will miss climbing Mt. Ranier, but she looks forward to discovering the beauty of eastern Oklahoma and capturing it with her camera.

Coming from the Lower Yakima Valley in Washington, the grandmother said the university here was a big draw for her. She’s taught a number of courses, including speech, interpersonal and intercultural communication, and rhetoric, and lectured in sociology, psychology and religious studies.

The local congregation had been without a clergy for a number of years and was hungry for a full-time clergy who would help them focus on mission and ministry.

“The people here in Tahlequah are very hospitable and the people in the congregation very welcoming,” she said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Parishes* Christian Life / Church LifeParish MinistryMinistry of the Ordained

Posted February 28, 2010 at 6:41 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Jon wrote:

Does the AP style guide now encourage the use of the word CLERGY to refer to a single person (rather than a class of persons)?  As in:

“The local congregation had been without a clergy for a number of years and was hungry for a full-time clergy who would help them focus on mission and ministry.”

Surely there are a number of words that would have served better: Pastor, Priest, Minister?

February 28, 12:01 pm | [comment link]
2. Branford wrote:

well, they can’t say clergyman anymore, so I suppose that’s their way of trying to be gender neutral.

February 28, 2:27 pm | [comment link]
3. Jon wrote:

Yeah, I thought of that.  But it’s a stupid way of being gender neutral, even if we grant the legitimacy of gender neutrality.  The reporter could have said Pastor or Minister, for example.  If he feels like Priest implies maleness (obviously it hasn’t in ECUSA for the last 30 years), he could have said Priestess. 

Personally I always say Priestess in referring to female ECUSA clergy, and the PB I call the High Priestess.  It’s a lot of fun, as well as being good English.

February 28, 2:50 pm | [comment link]
4. Dave C. wrote:

Jon, I don’t know about the AP style guide, but I suspect the reporter was working from ignorance and/or a desire to avoid sexist language (substitute clergyman for clergy in the quote you mention and there is no problem with singular / plural). 

I was scratching my head and trying to figure out why there was the comparison to the Catholic Church.  I suspect it was in answer to a question along the lines of “So, Episcopalians are kind of like Catholics, right?”  It is an area of the country better known for Oral Roberts and Baptists than Catholics or Episcopalians, so I wouldn’t be surprised if such a question were asked.

February 28, 3:06 pm | [comment link]
5. KevinBabb wrote:

A question that judges us in terms of similarity to the Romans is preferable to a question that I got about ten years ago from a colleague (she being a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Chicago Law School): “Aren’t Episcopalians like Unitarians?”

I’ll take the comparison to Rome every time

February 28, 3:19 pm | [comment link]
6. julia wrote:

Calling female clergy priestess implies pagan. You may not recognize female clergy as valid priests but many are Christians.

[We agree - whatever commenters may call people elsewhere, use of such terms is not permitted on T19 - Elf]

February 28, 6:22 pm | [comment link]
7. Jon wrote:

Hey Julia.  Merriam-Webster defines “priestess” as follows:

Main Entry: priest·ess
Pronunciation: \ˈprēs-təs\
1 : a woman authorized to perform the sacred rites of a religion
2 : a woman regarded as a leader (as of a movement)

So its kind of like actor and actress, waiter and waitress, count and countess, prince and princess.

At least that’s how I always thought of it.  After looking into it though just now, I see that some dictionaries add the phrase “especially in pagan religions” for the definition.  I am guessing, however, that’s because until very recently there haven’t been Christian priestesses.  In other words, until the 1970s, there was no Christian church that called its clergy PRIESTS but also permitted these clergy to be female.  There were certain Pentecostal denominations that had female clergy, but they never called their clergy Priests.  Thus, the English word PRIESTESS understandably for most of its life had a pagan connotation.

You’re right though, it does seem to upset the priestesses of TEC to call them priestesses.  Honestly I don’t do it that often.  Just when I feel like getting a bit of a rise out of them.  It’s very naughty of me but sometimes its very hard not to tease feminists.

February 28, 6:57 pm | [comment link]
8. Jon wrote:

Hey, I just saw the Elvish admonition not to be naughty.  The word Priestess will be stricken from my T19 vocabulary.  grin

February 28, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
9. Highplace wrote:

Is it just me…or does it seem that the majority of female priests wear technicolored (multicolored) sweaters and “dreamcoats”?  If you want proof check out the picture with this column.

February 28, 7:17 pm | [comment link]
10. The_Elves wrote:

Please return to discussing the original post.
Elf Lady

February 28, 8:34 pm | [comment link]
11. Oriscus wrote:

Have we all forgotten the word “cleric?”

March 1, 2:10 am | [comment link]
12. Hakkatan wrote:

“Labyrinth ministry was a project she started in 1993 after attending a retreat.”

Jesus and his cross are far better for giving a tranquil heart.

March 1, 10:01 am | [comment link]
13. Jon wrote:

Oriscus—you are absolutely right!  Thanks.

Hakkatan—One of the many reasons I hate the Labyrinth craze is that it is (to quote Martin Luther) absolutely “Christless—chillier than ice.”  It’s basically a huge pentagram, it appeals to a Gnostic desire to come to knowledge and illumination via study of secret diagrams.

Actually, Luther’s words might apply to the whole interview.  Very little mention of the distinctive person of Jesus or his Cross.  About the only thing she said that got halfway close was her false claim that TEC has official doctrine affirming the Real Presence.  I myself believe in the RP, but there’s always been room in ECUSA for other Eucharistic theories (and indeed throughout the majority of ECUSA’s existence most parishes did NOT believe in the RP).

I’d say that before TEC tries to affirm binding doctrine on its members of the real presence of the Risen Lord, it might first try to establish a more modest doctrinal claim; e.g. that it actually does believe in a Risen Lord.  Attempts to establish minimal doctrinal statements (unrelated to human sexuality) at recent general conventions have all been voted down.

March 1, 10:38 am | [comment link]
14. phil swain wrote:

The word “cleric” reminds me of the story told by the late novelist, Peter DeVries.  He was invited to give the commencement address at the Princeton Seminary.  He wrote back suggesting that perhaps the Seminary had made a clerical mistake.

March 1, 12:46 pm | [comment link]
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