Reflections on the Clergy Wives Retreat
A Retreat for the Diocesan Clergy Wives is
scheduled for Friday, September 29th through Sunday, October 1st at Camp Nazareth,
in Mercer PA.
The theme for the Retreat is "The Truth of
Ruth: Finding Joy in One of the Toughest Jobs in the World." Metropolitan
Nicholas will be in attendance at the Retreat, and will address the clergy
wives at various moments throughout the weekend. Fr. Jonathan Tobias, Pastor of
St. John's Church in East Pittsburgh and
Professor of Pastoral Theology at Christ the Saviour Seminary, will present a
series of reflections on the tiny Old Testament book of Ruth. The topics will
1. Ruth and Naomi, Bitterness and Famine - the
realities of hardship in ministry;
2. Ruth with Naomi - who are the people, mine and
yours? and the free choice for salvation through ministry;
3. Ruth in the fields - gleaning wealth through
poverty, and finding redemption through faithfulness; and
4. Ruth, the new Naomi - the reversal of famine,
the end of bitterness, and the discovered grace of the Pani's radical choice.
There is ample time for relaxation and
fellowship built into the schedule.
A letter has been sent to all the Diocesan
parishes regarding this clergy wives retreat, requesting that the parish
underwrite expenses for registration and transportation. This is an important
expression of support for our Diocesan clergy wives, whose service, all too
often, has not been adequately recognized. The work of these pious women in the
ministry of the Orthodox Church and this Diocese often goes unnoticed: but all
the same, it is a work that is of incalculable benefit.
Pani's are said to have a task that is great in
responsibility but low in authority. They serve piously and humbly, frequently
shunning the limelight so that the focus could be on the Church and the
parishioners. They are sources of compassion, wisdom, good counsel, and are of
enormous support and companionship for their spouse, the priest.
Besides sending the Pani to the Diocesan Clergy
Wives Retreat on September 29th through October 1st, here are some other
supportive measures that every parish can put into practice:
Ensure that the Pani is able to enter Divine
Services in quiet prayer, without having to discuss parish concerns before
Direct questions and concerns about the parish
and the Orthodox Faith to the priest, not his Pani.
Remember that the first priority of the Pani is
to be a wife to her husband and a mother to her children.
Resist the temptation to express critical
comments about other people or situations to the Pani.
Pani's are happy to serve the parish, but in
their own way. Some are great cooks. Some are great musicians. Some are great
organizers. None of them are perfect, but they are each beautiful in their own
Do not expect the Pani to divulge confidential
information about other people or parish concerns.
Respect the fact that Pani's are not to involve
themselves in so-called "parish politics," or to become overly involved in
activities that might detract from their primary vocation, which is to care for
the priest and family.
Finally, thank God for the Pani, and pray for her to
grow in her faith. Encourage her and support her in her very difficult task.
Her husband was called to the priesthood. She is called, like Ruth, to follow
September 29, 2007