Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clergy Fellowship Discusses Issues

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clergy Fellowship Discusses Issues

Article excerpt

On the first Wednesday of every month, about 30 members of the Greater St. Charles Fellowship of Clergy meet in area churches, schools and hospitals.

They listen to speeches on social issues affecting today's church. They keep abreast of inter-denominational changes and what's going on in the community. And they talk with one another.

Glenn Trost, pastor of Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in St. Charles, is president of the Fellowship. Trost said the main purpose of the 17-year-old organization is to provide a setting in which area pastors can know one another on a more personal level.

"Over the years, members have built up trust and have openly shared their pastoral experiences. Some of our best programs last year were when pastors shared their personal stories. One of the topics was `Your Favorite Christmas' and another was `A Success You Had in Your Ministry,' " said Trost.

Trost said that although the group is open to all St. Charles area pastors, relatively few clergy join the organization.

"Often, we aren't aware when new pastors come to town," said Trost. "One of my personal concerns is that we don't have our African-American pastors attend the meetings on a regular basis."

Program ideas come from the pastors themselves. Trost said issues affecting the church, such as AIDS counseling, suicide prevention and effective ways to respond to sexual abuse, have been addressed.

"I feel real good about some of our speakers and would like for us to be even more open on controversial issues - such as clerical abuse," said Trost.

He added that abuse by members of the clergy is a problem that crosses denominational lines.

"Anyone who says it never has occurred in their denomination these days just isn't aware. …

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