The March 26 edition of The Living Church is available online to registered subscribers. In this edition’s cover story, G. Jeffrey MacDonald writes about parishes that choose to call part-time clergy:

St. Columba’s Church in Kent, a suburb of Seattle, bears myriad marks of a vital congregation. New ministries shelter homeless men inside and feed the hungry from new vegetable gardens outside. At 79, average Sunday attendance (ASA) is up 44 percent since 2014.

The only thing missing at St. Columba’s, according to a few older members, is a full-time priest. To hold down costs, the church shifted in 2014 to a part-time model when it called the Rev. Canon Alissabeth Newton, the Diocese of Olympia’s canon for congregational development, to serve as vicar of the parish 30 hours a week.

But the part-time pastorate is turning out to be a blessing, and not just for St. Columba’s bottom line. The priest’s limited hours mean more responsibilities fall to the laity, who are motivated to discover how much they can do.

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“The congregation has been revitalized,” said Bob Ewing, a founding member of St. Columba’s in 1959. It struggled under a prior full-time priest who “wanted to run the show and stepped on a lot of toes,” Ewing said. But a part-timer’s focus on empowering laity is bearing fruit.

News

  • For Those at Peril on the Sea
  • Bishop North Declines Appointment

Features

  • Part-time Hours, Full-hearted Ministry | By G. Jeffrey MacDonald
  • Forgive Us Our Trespasses? | By Marcia Pally
  • Reconnecting to Church | By Joseph Britton
  • Necessary or Expedient? | Finding, Not Fixing | By Derek Olsen

Cultures

  • Discomfiting Theater | By Retta Blaney

Books

  • The Recent Unpleasantness A Plague on Both Their Houses | Review by Bruce Robison
  • Losing Susan | Review by Edward Henderson
  • The God Who Heals • Fifteen Steps Out of Darkness • Is It My Fault? • Bearing the Unbearable  | Reviews by Leander Harding
  • Pray and Color | Review by Caleb Congrove

Other Departments

  • People & Places
  • Sunday’s Readings

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