“…And where it does not, why? And how might the church best address this? And where it does to ask how the church might lift this up and learn from it. ”
This project will be part ethnography and part theological reflection in which I will interview 80-100 female clergy serving in Region 9 of the ELCA. The intention of these interviews will be to offer the clergy an opportunity to tell their stories – both blessings and challenges – of serving as pastors in congregations which are often embedded in communities which may resist female leadership. I will encourage the pastors I interview to reflect with me both culturally and theologically on these experiences.
I will then choose 7-10 of the congregations served by female clergy as case studies in which I will participate in the life of the congregation and interview various members of the community. In these communities I will be exploring how the stories of the congregation reveal the constitutive practices of that particular worshipping community as well as how these stories and practices fit into the larger narratives of the community (geo-political) and ecclesial (ELCA) in which each community is embedded. And, finally I will reflect theologically on these practices, trying to disentangle the socio-cultural from the ecclesial.