Thursday, May 25, 2006

Singleness and the Church

Andrew Seely Writes
I would love to hear what other presbies think about my article regarding singleness and the church. You can find it here.


Anonymous said...

I spent my first 4 years of parish life very single. It sucked.

Serving little church in village of 700. Hung out with Fr. Richard (a lot) from RC parish. I think he was less single than I was.

I found from extensive personal research that single men in ministry fare better than single women. Single men are considered to be "great catches" -- good with kids and older people, can handle small talk as well as deep talk, man of God, etc. etc. Single women are . . . like nuns? At least in "the old days" that was the case.

Best advice I was given: tell your session up front that as a single person, you will leave town to visit friends and have friends from out of town over to visit you. Sometimes they'll be married friends. Sometimes they'll be single. Sometimes they'll be male. Sometimes they'll be female. It's all good. It makes for a happier pastor.

Let people set you up - people like friends, not people like parishioners. Leave town on your day off. Work hard to find friends with zero church connection. Other pastors don't count. It's all going to be good. You'll find cool people to hang out with and who knows what will happen next?

Pastor Lance said...

Our churches FAIL the single people who attend! There is “church family camp.” Of course there is the “Valentine’s Day dinner.” Couples this… couples that… You wrote that churches should have dinners where couples and single people are together and that there should be open conversation. Open conversation? When was the last time you heard “open conversation at church? When was the last time that some said, “Pastor, that was a lousy sermon”? When was the last time you heard some a the church coffee hour say, “My marriage is falling apart?”

Our churches need to be aware of the single people who are a part of the church family and seek to make them feel welcome in all aspects of the church life and ministry.

Rob Monroe said...

I found your post to be very thought provoking in regards to singleness. I don't think that I can comment on "singleness" but I can comment on another part of your post, Teaching sexuality to the youth of our congregations.

In National Capital Presbytery, we have a couple of folks that are certified to teach the official PC(USA) Sexuality Curriculum. (more info at They now have the curriculum available as early as preschool, and the web leads you to check in with your resource center for people to lead your group in the curriculum.

At my previous church we did a day of "training" with our Junior High youth. It was a great day of learning. Some times split boys/girls, parents were there to take part for the second half of the day. It was very blunt, sometimes embarassing for both parents and youth alike, but it was a conversation starter between the church, the youth and their parents.

Purechristianithink said...

I was also a single pastor for five years--I think the issue of single people in church is one of hospitality--how do we welcome each other and who do we think the Christian community is for? Looking at it progamatically, as you point out, doesn't usually work. First, most congregations are too small to have a singles "program" and even in larger churches the question becomes Which singles? Younger never-marrieds? Middle aged divorced singles? Older widowed singles? When I tried to pull together a "singles" group at once church I served we had exactly one meeting to which came: Me (twentysomething and never married at the time), a 36 year old single mom, two fiftysomething women one never married and one divorced with grown children, and several recently widowed senior citizens of both genders. We realized we had almost nothing in common socially and would do more good working to make the other church groups we were already part of more single-friendly.