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Lost your priest, rabbis, mosque leader! Let the Spritzler Group recruit you real messiah.

Let face it between the pandemic and prying child abuse investigators, the ranks of clergy are dropping like flies. Err...well the Rabbis are probably leaving to make big bucks at Goldman Sachs (no indictments for inappropriate touching w the tribe).

At Spritlzer either we find someone who can lead your cult and inspire you minions or you owe us nothing. Except a minor retainer of $50,000. So act now and turn your organization into a Religious Steamroller.

Houses of Worship Face Clergy Shortage as Many Resign During Pandemic

With pastors and rabbis stepping down from churches and synagogues, laypeople fill more roles while congregations share leaders

By Ian Lovett, WSJ

Feb. 21, 2022 9:00 am ET

For eight years, Keith Mudiappa accepted the challenges of serving as pastor at his nondenominational Minneapolis church—the 70-hour workweeks, the low pay, the calls from parishioners at all hours—in exchange for the joy of seeing people come to the faith.

But the rewards of the job were tough to come by during nearly two years of online-only services. Late last year, Mr. Mudiappa quit and moved with his wife and children to Florida. He now works at a bank.

“I decided I wanted to take care of my family,” he said. “I don’t think I could do that in a church setting.”

In religious groups across the country, clergy members are stepping down from the pulpit.

They say the job, always demanding, has become almost impossible during the pandemic: Relationships with and among parishioners have frayed while meeting only over video, and political divisions have deepened, fueled by fights over Covid-19 protocols.

Though no national data about clergy resignations exists, an October study from the Barna Group, which studies faith in the U.S., found that 38% of pastors were seriously considering leaving full-time ministry, up from 29% in January 2021. Among pastors under age 45, nearly half were considering quitting.

In some denominations, resignations are exacerbating clergy shortages that began long before the pandemic. As the country has grown more secular, seminaries have closed and the pipeline of faith leaders has dwindled. The labor shortage within the clergy, which parallels shortages in other industries, is reshaping worship in some parts of the country as more congregations search for ways to operate without a pastor.

Leaders of the Conservative Jewish movement sent an email to synagogues in December, warning that at least 80 of the movement’s roughly 600 synagogues would be looking for a new rabbi this year; they expected at most 60 rabbis would be looking for new jobs. In the Reform Jewish movement, the country’s largest Jewish denomination, there are 5% to 10% more congregations searching for a rabbi than in a normal year, according to leaders.

Some 3,544 Catholic parishes in the U.S. lack a parish priest, up 25% from in 2000, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. The Diocese of Buffalo, N.Y., recently launched a pilot program in which as many as six parishes share one priest.

In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, at least 10% of its roughly 120 churches in Montana are looking for a pastor—and still more don’t have a pastor but can’t afford to hire one. Some are beginning to explore sharing a pastor with other mainline denominations, including Methodists and Presbyterians.

“Pastors are tired,” said Laurie Jungling, the ELCA’s bishop for Montana, who said the departure of pastors from their pulpits began accelerating in the summer of 2020. “They’re giving a lot of themselves to help folks deal with the trauma of the pandemic. They’ve had to face polarization in their own congregations, people’s anger and frustration about masks and vaccines, whether to have worship or not.”

In eight years as lead pastor of Rainier Avenue Church in Seattle, Peter Chin built the congregation from about 200 in weekly attendance to around 700 before the pandemic forced them online.

Over the past two years, the congregation has met almost exclusively over video. Relationships have suffered, Mr. Chin said. Staff have resigned, leaving more work for him, and finding replacements has been harder than it used to be, as the nation’s labor markets have tightened. There are disagreements over vaccine policy, politics and whether to gather in person.

“I love to see real change in people’s lives where they don’t feel hope or don’t feel community,” and then find it at church, he said. “I still find a lot of joy in that. But the scale of it, versus the controversy over mandates, political disagreements, expectations that come with pastoring even in the best scenarios—it feels lopsided now.”

Clergy leaving the pulpit now have more options than they did a quarter-century ago. In addition to those making wholesale career changes, some go into chaplain roles. Others are moving to nonprofits, which usually have more limited hours and emotional expectations.

Noah Farkas had expected to remain a pulpit rabbi his entire career. But after 13 years at a Los Angeles synagogue, he left to run the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, the largest Jewish nonprofit in the area. It became hard to hold the community together during the trauma of the pandemic, he said.

“You get to a point where, after being in the place for over a decade, and you see your friends and parents of your friends dying, it takes a toll,” Rabbi Farkas said.

The Great Labor Shift, Explained in One Chart



The Great Labor Shift, Explained in One Chart

The Great Labor Shift, Explained in One Chart

The American workforce is rapidly changing, with millions having quit their jobs. Here is a look at where the workers are going and why. Photo illustration: Liz Ornitz/WSJ

Some denominations say the pandemic hasn’t affected clergy staffing. A study last year from Lifeway Research found that evangelical and Black Protestant pastors were more likely than in 2015 to say they were frequently overwhelmed and on call 24-hours a day, but that the rate at which they were leaving the pulpit was effectively unchanged.

Still, more congregations around the country now are learning how to cope without an ordained leader. In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Montana, some pastors serve congregations that are 100 miles apart. Laypeople are trained to lead services when there is no pastor.

Mosaic Law Congregation, a Conservative Jewish synagogue in Sacramento, Calif., has spent much of the pandemic without a full-time rabbi since its prior leader of 25 years retired in 2020. A retired rabbi led services on Zoom from Montreal for months, and congregants filled in for events such as funerals and bar mitzvahs.

The congregation has hired a full-time rabbi who starts this year, but Executive Director Caren Rubin said she has warned members that they can’t expect him to remain another quarter-century.

“It’s like corporate culture,” Ms. Rubin said. “People don’t stay.”

Mr. Mudiappa said he works regular hours now in Florida and earns almost 39% more. His wife, who also worked at the church in Minneapolis, can stay home with their two children.

“I was always on the phone. You feel guilty spending time with your family, because there are a lot of other needs,” he said. “I’m enjoying weekends now. The weekends used to be chaos.”

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