Minister moms split between pulpit, potty training

WASHINGTON (RNS) Every now and then, the Rev. Amy Butler will find herself having to do a little simultaneous parenting and preaching from her pulpit at Calvary Baptist Church in downtown Washington.

“My daughter, in particular, knows the look,” said Butler, whose teenage children sit — and occasionally chat — with their friends in the balcony. “And if I’m up front leading worship, I can see everything … so if I need to shoot a look, I do.

“And they know exactly what that means.”

Female pastors with one flock at home and another in the pews say being a minister and a mom is a perpetual juggling act, with high expectations, never enough time and challenges that their male colleagues will never face.

At the same time, they say, it can also be a profound blessing.

“Baptist women ministers more than ever before are young, married, and starting families,” said Pam Durso, executive director of the group Baptist Women in Ministry.

Pregnancy, in particular, creates unusual dynamics for clergy and congregations. The Rev. Rachel Cornwell doesn’t usually talk about herself in her sermons, but one Sunday during Advent, two days before her son was born, she couldn’t help but draw parallels to the baby Jesus.

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