During my first year here in Georgia I was a bit surprised to discover that October is Pastor Appreciation Month. I was further surprised when I learned that it is a “national” month. Seems like something I would have heard about before, but alas I had not and I enjoyed receiving gifts and cards.
It is nice to be appreciated and I suppose some pastors long for a month when they may be told nice things, but quite honestly I feel appreciated all of the time. Therefore please allow me the opportunity to use this space as something I will call, “Parishioner Appreciation Month.”
I appreciate the silent workers of our church. Maybe you do not know about them, but they are there. They make sure air conditioners are running, lights are turned off, doors are locked, people are served, vestments are in place, bulletins are in place, forks are in place, and much more that only God knows. These people volunteer their time to ensure that the rest of us can come in to a place of worship and go right into it. I appreciate you all.
I appreciate the not-so-silent workers of our church. These are the people whose names appear as committee heads, elders, deacons, Samaritan Saturday group leaders, Community Resource leaders, Meals-on-Wheels volunteers, people who bring food to After Church Fellowship, ushers, greeters and more. Somewhere they’re names are written down. These people are rarely thanked, but do what they do not for the recognition, but instead because God has laid a burden upon their hearts and they follow their call. I appreciate you all.
I appreciate the people who go all over the church during our Ritual of Friendship to tell visitors “hello.” I have never had a guest of the church tell me they feel unwelcomed… maybe because some have never been given the chance, but more so because we are an incredibly welcoming church. There have been people who walk right by me to say hello to someone they have never seen. I appreciate you all.
I appreciate our staff. I recall one day when Ms Annie was mowing the dirt (this is before we our lawn sorted out). It was hot and dusty and yet there she was. Thankfully we have a landscaping service now, but Ms Annie works harder than ever. She is here until past 11 at night ensuring our sanctuary is perfect for a Sunday service after a wedding on Saturday evening. She works in the heat and in the cold, and does whatever is asked. I appreciate her.
I appreciate Lynn who comes in early and generally stays late. If I need something crazy done for a flyer or bulletin she will spend days getting it just right. People come in and will have long conversations with her, and she won’t complain but do her work later. She’s not a member of the church but cried when times were bad and there was only enough money in the bank to stay open for a couple more months. I appreciate her.
I appreciate Marilyn with her flair for the dramatic and her musical talent. She came in right when we needed her and is great for me to work with as I change things up at the last minute and tell her I am having people sing. Many pastors call their music departments, “war departments.” I have not. I appreciate her.
I appreciate Elaine with her amazing skills in the kitchen that have grown our Wednesday Nights. I recall one time that I was hosting some other clergy of the area and asked if she would prepare a meal. It was excellent, and I have had many of those who were there tell me it was the best meal they’ve had in any church. I am sure it was. I appreciate her.
I appreciate our newest staff member Pat. She is hard at work ensuring that our books are in order. Some ministers are great administrators and know everything about a church’s budget. I am not one of these ministers, and I thank God that we have a person who knows what she is doing and will lead us on a sound path for the future.
I appreciate the people who tell me when I am doing a good job; those that tell me what specific part of a sermon meant a lot to them; those who tell me to my face when I am doing a bad job so I can learn; those who send me cards with words of encouragement that always seem to come at the right time; those who try to invite more and more people to church… I appreciate so much about this church and about you all. Together we are blessed to have each other as we ride the wave of the Holy Spirit into better tomorrows.