All that’s to say that being a clergy woman has its own set of challenges – and those challenges come into play on the dating scene.On a drizzly February day in Fulton, I sit in a restaurant called Bek’s, sipping coffee and talking with Emily Carroll. She pastors Court Street United Methodist Church in Fulton.So I’m writing this document to explain to my friends and family -- and the general public— these rules are in place, and why, increasingly, observers of religion and sexual abuse awareness organizations say that pastor-parishioner relationships should be forbidden.One more quick point: I’m not the kind of person who frequently tells people how they should behave in their sex lives.She's dated a few people from Columbia since starting work in Fulton, but when they get together, she comes to Columbia for a sense of anonymity.
And pastors dating their parishioners—although seemingly more benign at first—actually fits into that category. When you belong to a church, the ministers consult each other about what’s going on in your life—and this can create conflicts of interest if you’re dating one of them In my case, when I grew increasingly frazzled by my relationship with my pastor, I couldn’t go to one of the other ministers and talk about it. This would be like dating your manager, and then going to the CEO of the company for relationship advice.
We’ve got a lot in commong: We’re both young women who like to laugh and have recently launched our careers. She loves her church – the congregation has been welcoming and supportive.
But being a pastor makes the dating thing a little tricky. Living in a small town and being pastor of a small parish – there are about 120 people in church each Sunday – it seems like everyone knows what she does, and when she does it.
Not only do they think their Pastor’s sexy, but they struggle with their mind and eyes wandering into inappropriate places.
It becomes a challenge because they tend to have these lustful thoughts as their pastor is speaking.