A Word from DS Laura Merrill 10/15/21

October is Pastor Appreciation Month—yay! I do often wonder at this sort of observance. Some national days or months seem unnecessary, like National Donut Day, or Ice Cream Appreciation Month. Those can only have been dreamed up by the people selling donuts and ice cream, because really? We need a month or a day or whatever to remember that we adore those things?

Pastors, on the other hand—now, that’s a mixed bag. Pastors are people, and the ones who hopefully appreciate them are people, and you just never know how that’s gonna turn out. My experience is actually one of deep gratitude for the relationship between pastor and congregation. And as with any relationship, it’s good to have a set-aside moment to say what we’re often thinking but don’t always put into words.

This month, this year in particular, we all need a little extra love. Life is just hard right now, in every direction, and we need to be gentle and love on each other, even when it’s not the designated month to do so. We are a body, an organism, and the stress one part experiences gets felt in other parts, too (1 Cor. 12:26). A volunteer answering the church phone can easily get an earful of frustration that has nothing to do with them. Pastors who try to take the middle road on masking or distancing can end up with two halves of the whole mad at them, for opposing reasons. And we’re all trying to do the best we can, in nearly every moment.

So church folk, I hope you’ve planned to love on your pastor in a special way. Pastors, since there’s not yet a Church Staff Appreciation Month, I hope you’ll look to those servants, too, paid and unpaid, and make sure they’re feeling the love as well. I’ll be sending a letter to SPRCs next week with some additional information to that end.

The main thing is to stay connected, and when you’re thinking something good, say it out loud! Use ice cream or donuts, a note in the mail, or a walk in the park. Whoever you are, take it as your job to encourage other members of the Body of Christ to be gentle with each other and with themselves. And do the same for yourself. Know that this month and every month, I appreciate you.

Grace and peace,

Laura Merrill
District Superintendent