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Martha Stewart in the Parsonage?

"She doesn't play the piano," I said with a smile. "And she doesn't sing in the choir or praise team," I added quickly.

The pastor search committee had quizzed me on the role my wife would play in the church. Even though I was interviewing alone, before I left home Wendy and I had rehearsed my responses to a question we knew would be asked.

"My wife is given to hospitality," I replied with confidence. "She loves to have people into our home where they can be made to feel special."

Like an increasing number of pastors' wives, my wife does not fit the traditional mold. She is a professional woman with a teaching credential and years of experience in the work force. She has been a devoted member in every church I have pastored. But Wendy insists on involvement where she can express her interests and gifts in a natural way.

Creating an "open door policy" at the parsonage is one such way. Hospitality is a ministry we share.

One of my pastorates was in an affluent suburb. Our family of five knew ...

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