Vocation and the Common Good is a multi-year research project describing the possibilities for Christian faithfulness within nine spheres of modern work. The Vocation and the Common Good Podcast is one way of distributing the findings of the project. Through conversation with selected members of the project, we intend to highlight the role institutions, friends, family, and colleagues have played in sustaining people within their ongoing attempts to be faithful to the call of God upon their lives.
Tish Harrison Warren is a priest within the Anglican Church, writer, and member of the Clergy Group of Vocation and the Common Good. As she describes in our interview, she has recently relocated from Austin, Texas to Pittsburgh in order to take up a call as co-Associate Rector of Church of the Ascension, a post she shares with her husband, Jonathan.
From its inception, Vocation and the Common Good has sought to renew rather than circumvent the vocation of ordained ministry within the local church. As such, the clergy group worked to discern the particular challenges pastors face in this current moment as well as the resources available to them. In one particularly poignant moment of deliberation, multiple members of the clergy group expressed how the process of ordination is at once honoring and distancing. Insofar as a congregation is recognizing the unique gifts of one of its members to rightly preach the word and administer the sacraments, a clergy member feels honored; but, additionally, the process of setting someone apart for pastoral ministry is just that: a setting apart. The laying of hands on a new pastor is, in this way, both a recognition of gifts and a distancing, a pushing away. In this interview, Tish describes the difficulties associated with this by describing what it has meant for her to move into a new community she is called to pastor while also enduring significant suffering.
As an extension of her pastoral ministry, Tish writes. (Her recent book, The Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practice in Everyday Life recently won Christianity Today’s Book of the Year.) In this interview, she discusses her writing’s relation to her pastoral vocation. In particular, she pushes on the need for metaphor to sustain faith in everyday life, marked as it is by both grief and triumph.