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Is the senior pastor in…

The phone rings in the church office.  I answer.  “St Peter’s UCC. Pastor Kathryn speaking.”  The voice on the other end is usually young and male.  “Is the senior pastor in?”  I pause before answering.  “I’m sorry the senior pastor is not available.  Can I take a message?”  (And just in case you’re wondering this is technically true since senior pastor implies a staff, associate pastors, and to be entirely accurate I’m The  Interim Pastor, no senior.)  “Is there a time when he would be available to take my call?”  And now I know that the caller is not someone familiar with the church.  Usually they continue on with a sales spiel designed to convince me that it is imperative that they speak with the senior pastor because only HE can decide the importance of their product.  Occasionally I interrupt, “Actually, I am the pastor.  We don’t use the term senior.  Would you like to tell me about your product?”  This usually results in one of two reactions, good-natured chuckling and some recognition of the error, “Oh, I’m sorry Pastor.  What did you say your name was?”  But equally often there’s an awkward pause.  And then “So you’re the pastor?  But…” and the unspoken “You’re a woman!”  Sometimes they can’t get off the phone fast enough and I wonder if they think gender is contagious.  One young man, obviously very discomforted by my response said “Well, I’ll call back some other time when you have a senior pastor.”  As I hang up I think to myself “I wonder if Junia had this problem.”

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2 thoughts on “Is the senior pastor in…

  1. Katherine, I doubt if Junia had this problem. What every pastor REGARDLESS of gender needs is a guardian or gatekeeper (i.e., administrative assistant) past which sales person can slip by. Thanks for subscribing to LIFE MATTERS

    • Well yes, an administrative assistant or other gatekeeper would certainly help. The church I currently serve has no paid staff other than the pastor so if there is a gatekeeper, I am she!

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