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Chosen, For clergy wives

Chosen, Partners in the Harvest Comes to Life

 When we got married there was another woman in the picture. She was younger than me and was taking almost all of his time. I love my husband, but sometimes I worry that we're growing apart. 

 “That comment is painfully typical of what I’ve heard from some Anglican Mission clergy wives,” reports Ellen Loomis, co-founder of a new initiative to support the wives of clergy in TheAM. That other woman is sometimes named St. Thomas, or All Saints Church, and she lives wherever the husband is spending his days and, all too often, nights. But the issue of sharing a husband with the parish is just one of many issues which face our leaders’ wives.  “I’ve learned after almost thirty years of marriage to a pastor that wives need support; especially the wives of church planters…that’s why we began Chosen,’ Loomis continued.

 A vision, as Bishop Chuck Murphy defined it in his Chairman’s address at the 2010 Winter Conference, is: seeing a need, seizing the opportunity and taking action. Late last year the Lord encouraged a few women with a common vision to minister to TheAM pastors’ wives.  They decided to share this vision with bishops’ wives. “The bishops’ wives agreed that there was a pressing need to teach, support, and encourage these women and we committed to partner together and take action,” said Loomis.

The Chosen team partnered with TheAM’s Acton Beard, a counselor and expert in the area of clergy marriage. With Acton’s guidance, Chosen will be offering retreats across TheAM through network-based gatherings in the US and Canada. The retreats will offer pastors’ wives an opportunity to worship, hear biblical teaching and testimonies from bishops’ wives, and share and pray with one another.

In addition to helping wives answer the difficult questions and weather the storms of being partnered in ministry, Chosen is designed to recognize and encourage women in their own unique gifts and talents. “This is not simply a crisis ministry,” continued Loomis, “We believe that God has something to offer even the most blessed partnerships. His divine encouragement, direction, and blessing are things we all seek in our lives and ministries. We call the ministry Chosen, Partners in the Harvest because we believe that while the clergy spouse is called, his wife has been chosen by God to share in the work and joy of her husband’s ministry. In Ecclesiastes God’s word tells us how important it is for the called and the chosen to be one. Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow.

A fundamental ingredient of each retreat will be the opportunity for wives to explore their own unique identity in Christ and gain a stronger understanding of their appointment by God for kingdom work. Retreats are also designed to assist women as they discern their gifts, acknowledge God’s plan for their marriage, and keep their vineyard safe and producing fruit. “We want our wives to be empowered to walk in confidence as they fulfill their role as a partner in the harvest,” Loomis concluded.

Retreats are already being scheduled with the first coming late this Spring in Georgia. Interested leaders are encouraged to find out more about Chosen retreats on their new website where they can find a complete overview of the ministry as well as contact information, prayer support links, and counseling information.
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