Did you know that October was Pastor Appreciation Month? It joined the unofficial holiday list back in 1992 when layperson Jerry Frear Jr. was brainstorming with church colleagues about how they might be of help to their minister. He apparently glanced at a calendar and noticed that it was almost Groundhog Day. Frear said, “I thought, if they have a day for groundhogs, there ought to be a day for the 375,000 clergy people in America.” Hallmark Corporation agreed and starting selling cards for Pastor Appreciation in 2002. Today, many churches in America do something to mark the event.
Of course, I don’t recommend that you thank your pastor only once a year, but I do think that expressing appreciation is a good thing. Even if you missed the opportunity in October, it’s always the right time! So, what can we do to say thank you? Here are three ideas.
1. Send a greeting card: Let them know that you’re on their side, that you’re supporting them with prayer on a regular basis, and that you love them. They need to hear it.
2. Spend time thinking about last Sunday’s sermon and when you see your pastor let him/her know some insight you gleaned from it.
3. Call your pastor and find out what prayer needs he or she has, and then actually spend time in prayer for your pastor.
As a community, Aberdeen Village expressed their thanks by hosting a pastor appreciation breakfast on Oct. 18. Our residents had the opportunity to invite their own pastors, and many responded. We sent invitations to local Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal, Church of God and Covenant churches. We also sent invitations to seven area Presbyterian Churches as well as four Methodist Churches. The breakfast was a beautiful representation of the truth that we are one body in Christ.
The pastoral breakfast also gave us a chance to thank the more than 40 pastors who have served as guest preacher for our Vespers Service this year. These pastors leave their families on a Sunday evening to minister to us, and we are truly thankful.
Many people who live at Aberdeen Village are no longer able to drive to their local churches, but they greatly appreciate the effort their pastors make to visit here. The following residents shared these thoughts of gratitude:
Fran Adair: “My daughter and son-in-law pick me up for church every Sunday. To top it off, Vespers is a wonderful ending to a beautiful day.”
Rose Klusman: “Catholic services here give me an opportunity to receive communion which is a vital part of my faith.”
Mary Jo Evans: “We always attend the satellite service. The Village Presbyterian sermons are consistently good, and the organ music is wonderful.”
John Evans: “We also attend the Vespers Service. The sense of community with our Aberdeen brothers and sisters is powerful, and the encouraging sermons from such a variety of pastors is inspirational.”
Georgia Bundschuh: “When I go to Catholic services, I always leave feeling so much better than before I went. Eucharistic ministers Joe and Joanne are so faithful and know everyone by name.”
Marge Kalousek: “I like all the different Vespers pastors. It is so interesting.”
Bernice Watkins: “Every two weeks a volunteer named Gary Kelly from Methodist Church of the Resurrection comes for a visit, and I really look forward to it. On Sundays, my daughter and I attend the 3:00 service here at Aberdeen Village. It’s just wonderful to be able to still attend church as a family.”
To all the area pastors who in one way or another minister to us, we echo the blessing that Boaz spoke in the book of Ruth. “May the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge, reward you fully for what you have done.” (Ruth 2:12, NLT)