On this Thanksgiving Day, I wish to extend my own gratitude to all of those committed members who bless their congregations with their steadfast support. As you read this, many of them are probably in the church basement, washing up after the community Thanksgiving dinner for those who don’t have a family dinner to attend.
I recently read a wonderful description of such members in Skinner House’s new meditation manual for congregational leaders, Bless the Imperfect. I hope you see yourself here, and know that you, too, are a blessing.
by Rudy Nemser
You find them in churches
when you’re lucky;
other places too, though I mostly
only know ecclesiastical varieties.
Long haul people
upon whose shoulders
(and pocketbooks and casseroles
and daylight/nighttime hours)
a church is built and maintained
after the brass is tarnished and
cushions need re-stitching.
They pay their pledges full and on time
even when the music’s modern;
support each canvass though the sermons aren’t always short;
mow lawns and come to suppers;
teach Sunday School when
there’s no one else and they’ll miss the service.
Asked what they think of the minister,
or plans for the kitchen renovation,
or the choral anthem, or Christmas pageant,
or color of the bathroom paint,
they’ll reply: individuals and fashions
arrive and pass.
The church—their church—will be here, steady and hale.|
For a long, long time.
For long haul people bless a church
with a very special blessing.
From Bless the Imperfect: Meditations for Congregational Leaders, Kathleen Montgomery, Editor.
-Rev. Renee Ruchotzke, CERG Leadership Development Consultant