Caring for Laura, who developed asthma as a 4-month-old, is a joy, but also a radical adjustment for Jenny, who is now a full-time mom and clergy spouse. “One semester I’m discussing the nuances of Kierkegaard and the next I’m reading See Spot Run five times in a row,” says Jenny.
The Broadus congregation made it clear, she says, that even though she has a theological degree, they didn’t think of Eric and her as a “two-for-one” package. She enjoys choosing where to put her energies at Broadus: “I don’t have to write a weekly sermon, but I am very involved in the life of this church. Eric and I do view ourselves as a team.
“This is a season in our lives and I want to relish it,” she adds. “I know my identity is not in a job title, but in being faithful to God.”
A Call to Compromise
When middlers Nicole and Grant Woodley, who married last May, met at Simpson College in Iowa, they each had firm plans: Grant was headed to Duke Divinity School and Nicole had been accepted at Des Moines Medical School.
“Choosing seminary was a pretty big leap of faith,” says Nicole, who was a biology major and had difficulty imagining herself in the role of pastor. “I was called, but I wasn’t sure what to.”
At Duke, they spent their first year praying about “where we could do ministry together,” says Nicole, who was raised as a Presbyterian. Grant was non-denominational, but his church didn’t ordain women. Last fall, they joined the Lutheran Church and are both seeking ELCA ordination.
The church has encouraged them to do both separate and joint field education placements so they develop as individual pastors and as a team.
For now, they support each other through the rigors of seminary.
“When we’re both emotionally drained and have nothing to give, you can tell,” says Nicole. “But being here has been life giving, too—encouraging and nurturing one another, and sharing the depth of ministry.”
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