Shari

Sacking the Quarterback, Guest Post by Maria Garriott

I’m excited to have Maria Garriott, author, church planting leader and Parakaleo staff member on the blog today to share her writing with you.

In 1981, Maria and her husband Craig thought getting married, moving to urban Baltimore, buying and renovating a decrepit apartment house, starting a church, and having a baby all within a year sounded like a good idea. Thankfully, Jesus showed up and everyone survived. As a pastor’s wife, she’s been [...]

By |February 16th, 2018|Shari Thomas|3 Comments|

My One Request This Year

“If you could be granted one request this year that would change your life, what would it be?”

This morning, John asked me this question. I immediately knew my answer. Before Christmas, several discouraging events caused me to evaluate how long I can stay in full time ministry. After the holidays, another issue surfaced that threw off my equilibrium so much that I wondered again how long I would survive. Not long. Unless, that is, [...]

Why Train Pastor’s Wives?

During the first half of our 35-year marriage, my husband and I had weekly discussions on the injustices women face in ministry. Ever since my teen years, when I would stomp into the principal’s office over an injustice in school, I’ve had a bent towards advocating for others. Looking back, I’m not surprised at the direction my life has taken in starting Parakaleo.

Couples go into church planting together and during the assessment process, the [...]

By |December 29th, 2017|Shari Thomas|2 Comments|

Advent

Every Sunday, the children are invited forward at our church. It’s one of my favorite parts of the service. Squiggly kids. Tentative ones. The bosses. The boisterous. The people-pleasers. Their unabashed traits shining in all their glory. No time-crafted mask covers that beauty yet. Sigh.

What does Advent mean? the children are asked. It’s one simple question. One simple answer. Coming. And the first purple candle of Advent is lit.

This year, John and I mailed Advent candles [...]

Does God Really Use Our Brokenness?

“Everything is broken. That’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

John and I are often surprised that God delights in working through us. Yet like most humans, we are still bent towards the belief that God only uses our gifts and abilities.  So last night’s dinner conversation was especially encouraging.

New York City is full of beautiful old church buildings that serve a handful of congregants at best and that’s only if the church is still used [...]

By |November 22nd, 2017|Shari Thomas|1 Comment|

Who Is The Woman Married To Your Pastor?

The Top Ten Things the Woman Married to Your Pastor Wants You to Know:

10. She’s her own person. She is not  an appendage of the pastor. She might even have differing political, social and biblical views than her spouse. She is in a position where sharing those views could negatively effect her husband’s job. You might be surprised and delighted to discover how different she may be from what you previously thought.

9. She has a [...]

Living in a Time of Trauma

By Guest Blogger Dr. Penny Freeman

Barbara Brown Taylor says “Pain and suffering makes theologians of us all.”

It’s true. There is no shortage of trauma these days. This summer our eyes have been glued to the devastation of hurricanes. Harvey left Houston in a state of disrepair that left me slack jawed. Irma wiped out Barbuda (an island I didn’t know existed until three weeks ago) and Maria totaled Puerto Rico the same time an [...]

The End of the Rope

I picked up my Bible and hurled it out the tiny window of our basement apartment. The thin pages wrinkled. The leather cover folded.  But there it hung, caught between the iron bars of our city window. “I can’t succeed at anything, I thought, not even throwing my Bible away.”

I was at the end of my rope. Finished. Disillusioned. We were church planters in a foreign country, in a global city, in a language [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|Shari Thomas|21 Comments|

The Sting of Messing Where You Shouldn’t

Yesterday, we ended a lovely family weekend with a walk to The Museum of Natural History. Hidden behind the museum is a small water fountain park. Our grandson excitedly ran through the soft green grass towards the water and right over a swarm of yellow jackets. Surprisingly he didn’t get stung. But like all New Yorkers, I expected at minimum a warning sign to be posted about the danger.

Penny’s yellow jacket experience turned out [...]

Raising Kids In The City

‘What’s up with my kids? They climb on everything. And our furniture is so cheap, it’s always breaking.’

‘I regret now buying what we did when we moved here. It’s not holding up with our boys.’ Another woman added.

Before you think this is a discipline issue, this conversation came from our Brooklyn cohort this past Wednesday night. They are raising kids in small city spaces. 650-square-foot is the average size of a NYC family apartment. We [...]