Every month I pray a meal blessing for a women's civic organization as the chaplain. I'm the first ordained person to hold this position for the group. I'd crow about this but let's be truthful:
clergywomen are sparse here and if any other clergy gal was asked, she'd be too busy.
I attend this group to visit with friends I don't see ordinarily.
In the interest of unbiased reporting I must admit that this group is one of the last places where I am a "younger" member. No further comment.
I wore my clerical collar yesterday because it's Holy Week and I'm busy. This was the first time I'd appeared at this luncheon in my uniform.
One woman told me that if she ever married again, she'd want me to do the service.
Another told me I needed to have my portrait done wearing the collar.
A third woman told me I looked beautiful.
My dress is rather plain most of the time. I'm not fashionable or drab most days but I'm no stunner.
I think I surprised the women by looking like what I am and what I do. Perhaps they don't think of me as clergy because they see me running around with my children, hugging my husband and hot-footing it through the grocery store. I doubt they see clergy women often. I can think of only one other woman down here who wears a collar.
It's taken me several years to get comfortable with collar wearing. At first, years ago, I'd find myself being called "Mother" by strangers and would forget to respond unless they were in my face. I can operate under the clergy radar scanner when I'm not "collared" and I can understand the strengths of stealth ministry. I can get into conversations with people without the initial "oh! you are a preacher!" paragraph.
But, still and all, I am clergy. I am a preacher. I do pastor a congregation. I am a public prayer.
Wearing the collar opens up conversations that I wouldn't have most days. I ran through the High School office yesterday to do an errand for the LS and was stopped by two kids and one staff member to talk. Without the collar I would be just another invisible Mom.
It's Maundy Thursday. We go to worship tonight at the LH's church. I'm looking forward to sitting in the pew with my family.