So, am I clergy, or am I not clergy? I have been trying to figure out this question for some time now. Once I started seminary I kind of felt like I was headed down the path to becoming clergy. What did that mean? For me, a rather introverted engineer, it meant I was finally claiming the name Christian for myself in a very public way. It meant that I was willing to consider myself a representative of the United Methodist Church, although I disagreed (and still disagree) with some of the policies of that church. When I had to wear a clergy collar as a chaplain intern at a Presbyterian nursing home/continuing care facility, it felt right.
Then we moved to Big Midwest City from Biggest Midwest City, and I became more of a mom than a pastor for a while, especially after I graduated from seminary. Then I became a youth ministry coordinator, and the senior pastor treated me more like an associate pastor, having me assist with communions and baptisms, leading worship several times a year. It felt good and right.
Then, a new senior pastor who told me at our first meeting that I was a layperson. She was right. I went back to sitting in the pew every Sunday. That didn't feel right. So I rooted around and WisePastor asked me to take over the Saturday night service at BigChurch in Medium CIty and boom - I was clergy again, in voice but not in name. I was reminded once a month when I had to find an elder to do communion that I was not ordained.
Now, I am a licensed local pastor, so within the walls of this church, I am clergy - I can marry, bury, and perform the sacraments. But outside these walls, I am still a layperson. So when I went to get a badge for the hospital, they asked "are you ordained?" - the answer is no. Do you want the title Rev. on your badge? No, I am not the reverend MumPastor. Yet.
Adding to the confusion is the fact that the district office sends me mail to the church addressed to Rev. MumPastor.
So, am I clergy or lay? Does it really matter? I have the work of God to do, and I am thankful. Confused. But thankful.