A minister’s wife…

I think it may be important to tell you about the life of a minister’s wife.

While the minister is more noticeable, the minister’s wife is just as ‘full-time’ as he is, and makes so much else happen with no fanfare or similar recognition.

A minister’s wife is a precious gift to him and to a congregation and since I am married to the best (!) I thought I would tell you why.

REALITY NOT JUST PROFESSION

I thank the Lord that Kathy has a real and healthy relationship with Jesus Christ which she nurtures with wisdom and effort and it permeates our home.  She is usually up before me and — though often tired — makes time with bible, notepad and prayer.  (If you have small children do not feel guilty reading this!)  She has never been interested in the professional minister’s wife and her zeal for Christ and His word is a frequent refreshing and (unspoken) rebuke to me.

AVAILABILITY AND COMFORT TO FAMILY

Kathy has always made time for our children (and the wider family as well) laying a fine foundation of truth and love in their lives.  When we came to St Thomas’ our children were 8, 5, and 3 so she helped run the Sunday School (with 3–5 children in it) and did many months in the ‘creche world’ as well, with children who couldn’t be left alone. Over the years she has been their comfort and counsellor and — owning the mobile phone — knows all that is happening in their lives.  While I was preaching the family priorities she was practising them.

AN APPETITE FOR THEOLOGICAL MEAT

We married young and Kathy sacrificed (what could have been) an academic life to support me through Moore College and then ‘fulltime ministry’.  Though not formally studying she has never stopped informally studying and getting on top of Carson commentaries or theological textbooks — seeing through theological issues faster than me and being patient with those who see less.  There have been many wonderful women in the ‘Women on Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday’ groups but I think her passion to see women use their fine brains and not drift into sentimental discussion has been a huge key to the plethora of good thinking women at St Thomas’ — and those she has discipled.

WELCOME AND HOSPITALITY

In the first seven years we lived onsite and had frequent picnics for most of the parishioners on the rectory lawn.  When we moved away it became much harder and — though I wish we had done more and Kathy now wants to move back onsite — there has been a steady stream of people to our home.  A lunch that Kathy organises (for youth leaders or staff or parishioners or visitors from overseas) is always plentiful and delicious.  She is a great hostess and makes sure that young and old are welcomed and loved.

ENCOURAGER OF PEOPLE

When minister’s wives listen to their husbands preach — always a complicated situation — and things go well it is a relief.  When things go badly it is a sensitive day.  Kathy is a continual encourager to me and to many, many people.  She will go out of her way to thank people appropriately and warmly — she writes notes continually and lovingly.  The way she models this in the church family is an untold blessing to us.

PATIENT FORBEARANCE

No one may even know how much a minister’s wife experiences of the spiritual battle with not the opportunity to fight publicly.  Kathy has had to shoulder so many concerns — some real and some not so real — of mine and many others in the fellowship.  When mistakes are made and wounds are created the minister’s wife must be protector, comforter, sweet bridge builder and constant grace-giver.  Kathy has done this amazingly.

SWEET PARTNER

Kathy is a joy to live with and a joy to serve with and a joy to travel with.  I need never fear whether these will be improved by her company – they always are.  The Lord was very kind to me when He led me to her.

She turns 60 tomorrow and I wanted to tell you what a treasure she is to me …… and you.

Yours in fellowship,

Simon Manchester