10.17.2006

An Ever So Slightly Cranky Post

I picked up the phone in the church office today, and answered it the same way I always do, first stating the name of the congregation and adding a cheerful "This is Pastor Katherine." I know that my colleague on the other end of the phone didn't mean anything by his bemused response. He is a good colleague that I respect a great deal.

"Do you actually go by Pastor Katherine?"

Yes and no.

I go by Katherine, and have seldom been addressed with any formalities (Ms., Rev., Pastor). This is what feels comfortable to me. I have female colleagues who feel differently, a decision I totally understand. Sometimes I wonder if it would be beneficial to my ministry to adopt a more authoritative pastoral title, particularly when I encounter new people when I'm not in my clerical garb (which is all but one hour per week). No one ever assumes that I'm the pastor, not in person, and certainly not on the phone. Rather, the immediate assumption is that I am the secretary. I don't have a problem with that; I don't have any latent anti-secretarial bias. But inevitably, when it comes out that I am in fact the pastor of the congregation, there is this totally awkward moment in which the person who mistook my identity is embarrassed and/or confused. It's ever so much easier to lay it out there in the first place.

I'd bet the farm that my colleague has never been taken for anything other than the Pastor. He looks and sounds like a Pastor, a quintessential, prototypical Pastor. And so I forgive the amusement I detected in his deep and preacherly voice when his girly-voiced younger colleague copped the title.

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