(Photo: istockphoto.com)

Topics: September 2020, Spirituality | Culture

Tender new memoir explores life as a preacher’s wife

Author Karen Stiller offers an honest account of church life in "The Minister's Wife"


Most people would agree that being a minister’s spouse isn’t an easy role, but for vet­eran writer Karen Stiller it’s been more of a blessing than a curse. Through warm and witty essays, she offers an honest account of church life in her new book, The Minister’s Wife: A Memoir of Faith, Doubt, Friendship, Loneliness, Forgiveness, and More. From a quiet town in Saskatchewan to the city of Ottawa, Stiller and her husband, Brent, have spent years serving various Anglican parishes while also raising three kids, nurturing their marriage, and cultivating friendship and community.

More on Broadview: Jewish TV dramas like ‘Unorthodox’ hit close to home for me

Stiller, a senior editor at the Canadian evangelical magazine Faith Today, has already proven herself a gifted storyteller in books like Going Missional, but in the pages of The Minister’s Wife she opens herself up and digs deeper into the lessons she’s learned through years of sharing her husband with the church. In the chapter “Family,” she writes about the despair of other congregants and how their tra­gedies can stir up fears in her own life. She leans on her faith in those moments: “Jesus shows up in the horrible messes and the shocking sadness, and he does not leave.”

As a pastor’s wife and writer, I saw myself in segments of Stiller’s memoir. I know what it’s like to have my own three raucous children bounce off sturdy pews, and to not-so-quietly groan when evenings are interrupted by par­ishioners in crisis. But there were many parts I didn’t relate to, like her warning to other ministers’ wives that it’s nearly impossible to have good friends in your own congregation. Most of the time, I felt like I was sitting at the feet of an older, wiser woman — someone who has walked a rough and rugged road and is willing to share her story with others. While I didn’t always agree with Stiller, I soaked in her words and felt a little less alone in the complicated role of minister’s wife.

I hope you found this Broadview article engaging. The magazine and its forerunners have been publishing continuously since 1829. We face a crisis today like no other in our 191-year history and we need your help. Would you consider a one-time gift to see us through this emergency?

We’re working hard to keep producing the print and digital versions of Broadview. We’ve adjusted our editorial plans to focus on coverage of the social, ethical and spiritual elements of the pandemic. But we can only deliver Broadview’s award-winning journalism if we can pay our bills. A single tax-receiptable gift right now is literally a lifeline.

Things will get better — we’ve overcome adversity before. But until then, we really need your help. No matter how large or small, I’m extremely grateful for your support.

Jocelyn Bell



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.