Men at St. Paul's: Marginalized?
In the long history of the Church, men have held positions of leadership and power at all levels. This was as much true at St. Paul's as it was anywhere. In fact, as far as I can tell, I am the second female Rector. The first female lasted for about a year.
Now, not only do we have a female rector, we have a female deacon, and much of the leadership you see up front each week is female. That's great! Our vestry is comprised almost entirely of men, so there is good representation there. But, I don't want to commit a sin against men that was made against women. I'm talking about the sin of marginalization. While we would all agree that everyone belongs and should find support and voice in our community, to really achieve belonging, we need to be intentional to make space and create opportunities. We need to encourage men who might hang back, and, maybe, we need to create safe space for men to be together.
I've been listening to a podcast called, The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill. It's a deep dive into what happened at a Mega Church in Seattle when their outspoken pastor cultivated an environment of toxic masculinity with himself as the most toxic. Men were attracted to the church because it affirmed their value in their families, careers and Christ's Kingdom. But the message was wrapped in images of domination and misogyny. I wonder, how can we affirm and value men without the toxicity? Men are critically important in their relationships, families, careers, and Church - as are women, and folx who identify as neither or both. So how do we ensure that you, our St. Paul's men, are included?
I invite you to go to comment here, on our Blog page. Respond with your thoughts and opinions. Whatever your gender, share yourideas on how we might avoid marginalizing or de-valuing men at St. Paul's. Click the button below to get right to the spot.
What about a men's Bible Study or Pub night?
We marginalize people when we fail to value who they are and what they bring to the table, when we keep them from participating because they don’t fit our perceived ideals (I did this to Fred Dukes when you suggested he be a Delegate!) But we also do this when we try to make them into something they’re not (Gary will never be a public speaker, for example!) Offering opportunities and encouragement for growth, participation and leadership development is one way to keep from marginalizing anyone. You seem to do a pretty good job of tapping people for ministries at St. Paul’s.
Rebecca L Ragland
Thanks for your input, Angela!
Pub night, men's study... both sounds good. Easy to step in to a pub, maybe more spiritual formation later. Fun, friendship first.
Rebecca L Ragland
Charles, I would like to support a pub night. Just one - not some kind of long term commitment thing and allow men to reflect on what connection they would like to have with each other. Anyone who identifies as male or non-binary would be welcome. Would you be up for being our anchor and facilitator for it?
Charles W Brazeale
I could do that, Rebecca.
I'm a lifelong Episcopalian. I moved several times in my professional career to different cities in the midwest. With each relocation, I had to find an Episcopal church to attend.
Dear Jeff, please forgive me for not replying online to your concern about the difficulty in kneeling. You are not alone in this challenge! As you know, we are continuing the conversation and trying to figure out the next steps. I understand that the challenge discriminates against long-legged people. Hopefully, within the year, we will have arrived at a satisfying solution...Lord knows what it will be! Probably, we'll be removing some pews and repositioning the next.
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Most of the blog articles are written by our Rector, The Rev. Rebecca Ragland