What Expect of My Ministers Wife

The following questions and answers are taken from a survey that Mrs. Patzer conducted involving a number of women church members.

1. Do you feel that it's advisable for the minister's wife to be a leader of a Sabbath school division, choir director, organist, et cetera?

This would depend on the size of the church and her family; she would be expected to help when possible, but not necessarily be the leader. Yes, in some cases. No, especially where there are children involved. Only if needed, only in emergency. If needed and does it WELL. Only in small churches short on talent. Only as fill-in. To pinch-hit.

Greater is he who sets ten men to work than he who does the work of ten men. The minister's wife should take no responsibility that can be carried well by a member. If there is a lack, she should train a successor, if one is available.

2. Do you expect your minister's wife to be always present at MV meetings, prayer meetings, et cetera?

Yes, within reason. No, not always but often also Dorcas meetings. As often as possible the presence of the minister's wife at meetings shows her interest in the church and its activities if small children do not need her at home. Yes, it is very uplifting. A minister's wife should attend all meetings. This makes the members feel she is interested in them as well as the meetings. She should attend all meetings and so should the minister! She needs nourishment for her own soul as well as do others. NO, not if she has small children. If the minister and his wife are at all the meetings possible, it is a great strength to the church. If they aren't there, the attendance seems to drop.

3. Do you expect your minister's wife to always wear hat and gloves to church?

It depends on the place in the country or the city. A woman doesn't look properly dressed without a hat on. If the minister's wife has small children it is hard for her to wear hat and gloves. It is nice to set the example though. Optional but nice. Yes, but not for show. (2 to 1 say Yes).

4. How do you feel about your minister's wife wearing furs to church?

This would depend on the place. Only if she can afford them. Not going to extremes where she stands out in the crowd. Ministers' wives should be just as sacrificial as all the church members should be. Her clothing should not be showy or overly expensive. Only in Siberia. I believe there are better uses for the money. This should be avoided. If she has one she should wear it, she probably got it before she was married. Anything showy seems poor taste for any SDA woman. I feel it is totally unnecessary in our climate, and savors of vanity. Wearing furs is in bad taste, there are some in the church who cannot afford a good cloth coat, and if they see the minister's wife in furs it could cause hard feelings. We need no fashion shows in church, have enough sideline attractions. Why not? Some fur seems in good taste, some are allergic to wool. Choice of wearing furs should be discreet. It's her choice, she will be criticized whatever. If she would be conspicuous in the congregation, I would say No. It's a bit too extravagant. NO, NEVER.

5. Do you expect your minister's wife to accompany her husband when he pays a visit, especially when she has no children to look after at home?

When the visits are with men I see no reason for her to accompany him, but if the woman is alone at home the wife or another elder should accompany him. He should use discretion in visiting women home alone. Yes, definitely. We enjoy an evening drop-in from both. Sometimes it wouldn't be advisable. Not always possible, but highly desirable. Members wish to become acquainted with the minister's wife and know her personally. The visit of the pastor and his wife is impressive and helpful. (95 percent say Yes)

6. How much entertaining should the minister's wife do? If her husband is pastor in a small church is she expected to entertain all the parishioners at some time or another?

I don't remember a minister's wife who made a business of entertaining each church member. Not necessarily. I think so, perhaps a church social if they have room in their home. The church needs help otherwise, and she shouldn't be expected to do a great amount of entertaining. One small church, yes, but several small churches, no. Our church needs more social activities . . . think that would stimulate it. No, they should not, nor should they show partiality by inviting the favorite few. I think it would be most hospitable if it were possible to have open house once a year at the pastor's home. This would leave out no one and this would help in the matter of unity and understanding. She should at tempt to entertain the visitors, church officers in large church all in a small church not forgetting the needy. We should all entertain the lonely and unloved more than we do. She should entertain as much as possible so long as it does not put a burden upon her or the finances.

7. Is the minister's wife expected to stand at the church door and greet the congregation as they leave the church, especially if this is a small country church?

It is very nice, but not compulsory. Yes, if there are no small children to attend to that comes first! Not mandatory but she should show friendly interest to all. I like it. No, but she should mingle with the members outside the church. The wife standing by the minister's side is a good custom in every part of the church work. Most of those surveyed said that it is nice, or they like it.

8. What are some of die things that every member of the congregation has a right to expect of the minister's wife?

Willingness to help in time of need. Loyalty to her husband, friendly to all. Ability to listen and not become prejudiced toward anyone, thoughtfulness, neatness, courtesy, friendliness. I have appreciated our minister's wife's willingness to take over in my office when I am away. It is nice to have her present and willing to give a helping hand at socials, suppers, et cetera. A personal interest in each member. Never belittling her husband or anyone else. She should be wholeheartedly cooperating with him. Not self-important. Reverent in church. Truly representative of a good SDA in every way. She should have a sunny dis position, be sympathetic, helpful, and willing to listen to one's troubles . . . without interrupting. She should be a support to her husband, hold in confidence all she hears. Strict confidence. To fill any office when sorely needed. To set an example especially in dress (skirt length), to be nonpartial. Have a listening ear, and a warm smile on Sabbath. One that holds up church standards and doesn't gossip. Role as confidante. Aware of individual needs. To attend the worship services as regularly as possible, especially small churches need the support. Upholding church standards in dress and deportment. Keep a good, clean, happy, ^wholesome home. Neat, pleasant, and no make-up. (Summary: Most important no gossip, be friendly, be representative.)

9. Do you like your minister's wife to work out of the home?

No wife has enough energy, time, or ability to work out and be a minister's wife. No, unless there is no other way to send her children to church school. NO! a thousand times NO! Only if there is no other way. NO, NO, NO. If it is absolutely necessary, but if she has small children her place is in the home. If she must work, may it be something she can do in the home. It is a pity ministers' wives have to work to make ends meet. Their families and husbands need them. Somehow I don't believe God meant it to be that way. No mother should work out of the home if there are children. No, part time if absolutely necessary, but be home when the children are home. Her first obligation is to the family and church . . . then there won't be time to work out.

10. Do you object to the minister's wife wearing colorless nail polish? face powder? perfume? high-heeled shoes?

Nail polish never! Face powder if she needs it. Perfume O.K. in moderation, and heels if not extreme. No. When things are an act of vanity or might be the cause of a new convert slipping, these things should be avoided. Nail polish is an act of vanity. Small amount of face powder sometimes is needed. Perfume, I see no harm in moderation, and a moderate heel, but spikes are not healthy. Nail polish No. Perfume, powder used sparingly. No high heels (spikes). We should be attractive . . . use in moderation. Be inconspicuous and in good taste at all times. She should set the example in everything. Never be extreme.

11. Is it all right for the minister's wife to wear slacks or jeans at home or on certain occasions when she is out, such as on picnics or hikes? Also, bobby socks?

Slacks are not necessary for ordinary housework; climbing mountains or ladders, yes. I prefer to see a woman feminine. There are appropriate times that make slacks modest (shorts never). No socks would be better than bobby socks unless with slacks, never in public. There is a place for slacks or jeans. In the garden, around boats and beaches, et cetera. She should look neat, never immodest. She should use discretion as she has many house-callers. Bobby socks with slacks, yes, with dresses, no. Hikes, yes. I'm old-fashioned about this. I don't appreciate slacks or jeans on any woman, especially the pastor's wife. Slacks, jeans, bobby socks never fit into the Spirit of Prophecy picture of woman's dress. Who knows who will come to the door?

Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

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August 1971

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