To my friends and colleagues in Northern Lights Presbytery:
Did you know that October is Pastor Appreciation Month, (also known as Clergy Appreciation Month)?
I had never heard of such a thing until about 6 years ago when I got a card from the Clergy Support Network in celebration of it. Apparently it was started by Focus on the Family 20 years ago and has since been adopted by Hallmark as another reason to sell cards.
To tell you the truth I am of a mixed mind about Clergy/Pastor Appreciation Month. Mainly because I think the supposed need for such a month shows how poorly we do as faith communities of living the Gospel. If we lived our faith fully then we would not need to be reminded or have special times to say thank you to our clergy, to our volunteers, or to God.
But I am also a realist. And I know that sometimes we DO need to be reminded to show our appreciation to others, we do forget to say thank you. As I often say to couples during pre-marriage discussions, it isn't that we intend to take each other for granted, it is just that we fall into a routine and we forget, and it seems that we take each other for granted sometimes.
So as this month begins I wanted to take time to say thank you to all of you for all that you do. As we all know, ministry is a career with many blessings and also many burdens. There are long weeks full of difficult meetings, there are times we hear stories that break our hearts. Then there are the blessed moments where we are invited to share the deepest moments of others lives, where we experience the wonder of sharing deep discussions about life and meaning. Then there are the myriad “other duties as required” that we are not always sure anybody notices we did.
For all these things I say thank you. For the service in your local community, for the time spent on the work of the wider church, for the many ways you live out your faith day by day, for all the times you were sure no one even thought about saying it I say thank you. Each one of you is a gift to the church, a gift to your community. And trust me people notice. They may not say it enough, but people notice.
God bless you all as you live out your ministry!
And yes, Happy Pastor/Clergy Appreciation Month!!
Chair of Northern Lights Presbytery
Or here is the Video Version....