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As increasing numbers of young women are discerning a call to ministry, entering seminary, graduating, and searching for the call to a parish or other ministry setting, they need to be aware of the realities that face them. The Girlfriends' Clergy Companion is about the nitty gritty of ministry for young female clergy—how to maintain a sense of personal style, what it's really like to be a solo pastor, how to date, what to do when they're ready to quit. The authors met in 2008 at a gathering of young women who serve as pastors. Since then, they have been meeting monthly to develop a 'young girlfriends network' and to support one another in their ministries. In their conversations, they heard one another talking about what they wished they had known before beginning ministry. Those yearnings gave rise to this book. The authors discuss the call process and the ministry situations in which young women most commonly find themselves serving as a solo pastor and as an associate. Additional chapters explore personal style, the single life, relationships, children, and self-care, as well as challenges pastors, particularly new pastors, often face. Each chapter ends with 'The Girlfriends' Checklist,' a summary of strategies to help young women be happier and more effective ministers.
If you are eager to learn how to gain greater awareness and understanding about the layers-of-truth and the often hidden facets of being female and clergy, this is the book for you! Discover the diamonds on each page as the author uses humor, wisdom, scriptures, and brief narratives to bring fresh sparkle to topics such as: -hearing a calling from God in a changing and sometimes biased society -balancing busy schedules -living into self-care -embracing forgiveness -being mentored and mentoring others in ministry -networking with male and female clergy colleagues and community leaders -negotiating benefits and salaries -keeping healthy sexual boundaries -maximizing play time with family and friends -learning quick tips for fashion, clothing, hairstyles, and even make-up It is the author's prayer that women in ministry, their families, colleagues, and faith communities will read and then be made more sensitive to the ways that all of us can support each other in our journeys to becoming even more brilliant in God's eyes.
Clinical psychologist and clergywoman Lucille F. Sider adds her voice to the chorus of women in the #WhyIDidntReport and #MeToo movements. This is Lucille’s story of resilience and hope as a survivor of sexual abuse. She explains the challenges of finding her way out of a fear-based spirituality into one that is full of grace, hope and forgiveness. The unique richness of her book is that she wrote it to spark healing discussion. As she describes her experiences in these pages, she also steps back and offers helpful analysis as both a psychologist and a clergywoman. At the end of the book, she includes a complete study guide with questions for reflection for individuals, small groups and classes. “The book is arranged to be a valuable tool in the hands of persons in the helping professions, such as clergy, social workers, psychologists,” writes the Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, General Superintendent Emerita and Ambassador of The Wesleyan Church. “This writing is so powerful, yet gentle, that people will be able to add their own words to combat the pain. Lucille’s credentials enhance the power of the story. Truly a book for these days!” Lucille was just 6 years old when she was abused both physically and sexually by a hired man on the family’s farm. Lucille’s inner conflict about these experiences, propelled her into a childhood of guilt and shame. While Lucille was an outstanding student, singer and athlete, she lived with an underlying fear, loneliness and mild depression. A second sexual abuse by her brother-in-law, when she was just 15 years old, added to Lucille’s fears. When she tried to tell her parents about this, their response was only to pray for her—so, she kept these painful events secret for years. Many years later, her brother in law was arrested for molesting a 15-year-old girl. Lucille and others, including his own daughter, testified against him and he was incarcerated. Raised in a conservative household and faith, Lucille went to college and seminary to search for a theology that was full of grace and forgiveness. She found this especially at Yale Divinity School, though she always lived with a mild depression. Her struggle to understand both her faith and psyche led her to earn a PhD from Northwestern University in psychology and religion. She became a clinical psychologist and pastoral counselor and later the Executive Director of The Samaritan Pastoral Counseling Center in Evanston, Illinois. At age 50, when her husband suddenly divorced her, Lucille was cast into darkness and despair which resulted in major depression. Lucille became dysfunctional and had to step down as Executive Director of her counseling center. Years of therapy led her to new ways of offering and sharing her gifts, which included writing stories and ministering to seniors, especially those suffering from dementia. In Light Shines in the Darkness, Lucille F. Sider shares her unique story of sexual abuse and severe mental illness, including depression and PTSD. She describes her legal battle in fighting for justice and her ongoing persistence in finding ways to remain stable. She calls these her mental health and spiritual practices and they include: counseling, medication, meditation, healthy diet, exercise, daily prayer and church attendance. In sharing her story, Lucille now is helping others along their journeys from sexual abuse to stability—to find their own hope and their own light that shines through the darkness. “Timely, compelling and courageous, this autobiography lays bare the trauma of both child and adolescent abuse,” writes Carol Schreck, Professor Emerita of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Palmer Theological Seminary. “This book deserves to be read by any adult who, living in a culture where 80 percent of females have experienced some form of sexual abuse by the age of 18, are no longer content to keep their proverbial head in the sand.”
Clinical psychologist and clergywoman Lucille Sider adds her voice to the #WhyIDidntReport chorus of sexual abuse survivors. Sider shares her story of resilience and hope. Readers will be moved by her indomitable spirit in legal and spiritual challenges including years of secrecy, depression, and severe mental illness that stemmed from her abuse.

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