FROM PASTOR MEYER’S DESK: For the past 24 years I have had the privilege of serving as the pastor of Salem Lutheran Church. For each one of those years you have observed Pastor Appreciation Month. In fact, I believe you were one of the first congregations in our community to do that for their pastor. If I’m not mistaken, this month for honoring members of the clergy was initiated by Focus on the Family and dates back to 1992. I came to serve here in October of that year so there was no recognition of it then. But the following October there was and if my feeble memory serves me correctly you put an ad in the Salem paper expressing your appreciation for your pastor. I had only been here a year and I was surprised and deeply moved by what I read in that ad. And you haven’t missed a year since then.
Well, as much as I appreciate that and am humbled by it, quite frankly I am also a bit embarrassed by it. I know a lot of people in our congregation who work extremely hard, both inside and outside the home, yet who never get any recognition, thanks, or appreciation for what they do. If there is going to be a Pastor Appreciation Month, then I think there should also be a Hairdresser Appreciation Month, a Factory Worker Appreciation Month, a Farmer Appreciation Month, a Nurse Appreciation Month, and so on. I guess what I’m trying to say is that regardless of what we do, we all need some words of encouragement and support. And guess what? It doesn’t cost a thing to do it. So be on the lookout for opportunities to dispense very liberally and very generously words of gratitude and appreciation to others. Not only will it brighten their day, but it will brighten yours as well. Like Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
The outpouring of love and support that my family and I have received from this congregation over the years, not just during Pastor Appreciation Months, but throughout the years has been overwhelming. So I’d like to designate this month Congregation Appreciation Month. And at the risk of missing someone, I would like to offer my thanks and appreciation for the following:
- Ange, our beloved secretary, who is so kind, caring, and professional in how she carries out her duties, not to mention incredibly efficient. She keeps me on my toes and helps me look good by reminding me of so many things that I might otherwise forget in my ever-changing and always busy schedule.
- Our Board of Elders whom I consider to be my right hand men, who offer a listening ear when I go through times of discouragement, and who are full of wisdom that I love to tap into when I don’t quite know what to do in certain situations.
- Our Treasurers Steve Stein and Carol Copple and our Financial Secretary Wayne Moureau who keep the financial side of things in balance here so that I never have to worry about that. One side note: Steve has been our Treasurer all 24 years I’ve been here and assumed those responsibilities several years before that, so let him know how much you appreciate his faithful service to our church.
- Our Next-Gen Director, Beth Runge, who wears so many hats here, including Sunday School Superintendent, VBS Director, Youth Director for all ages, Board of Christian Ed., etc. and who always puts her whole heart and soul into whatever she does.
- Our organists, Barb Roberts and Reva Maurer, both of whom have been blessed with incredible skills that truly enrich our times of worship.
- Our choir director, Marilyn (who also happens to be my wife J), and who has so ably served in that position for the past 24 years. She truly does a remarkable job which is even more amazing when you realize that she’s completely self-taught in that area.
- Our choir whose dedication to serving the Lord and His people in song is heard every time they sing. Whether it’s a very worshipful song or an upbeat contemporary selection or one with a bluegrass feel to it, they work hard at perfecting it, all of which adds so much to our worship experience.
- Our Praise Team led by Barb Roberts but that also features singers and musicians of all ages whose enthusiasm is contagious and who take great joy and delight in singing their praises to our great and awesome God.
- Our custodian, Terri Engel, and her family who see to it that our church is clean and well taken care of.
- Our Little Lamb Preschool staff – Ann Wilzbach, Suzy Hope, and Marti McIntosh who are so devoted to making our preschool a haven where little children can not only learn their abc’s and 1-2-3’s, but where they can also get to know the best Friend they could ever hope to have – a Friend named Jesus.
- Our Sunday School teachers, Children’s Church teachers, and nursery volunteers, all of whom make life a little easier for our parents with little children.
- Dave Hudson, our very capable webmaster, who completed a much-needed revamping of our web site this year and who stays after church most Sundays to update it and also make the CD for our radio broadcast.
- John Duncan who does the Powerpoint for the worship services and announcements every Sunday that you see on the screen.
- Our sound techs whose job is not easy (I wouldn’t want to do it!), but who stay on their toes each Sunday advancing the Powerpoint slides, monitoring the mics, and recording the service.
- Bonnie Heinzmann who faithfully writes up the article every week for the newspaper.
- All of you who are so faithful in worship and who are in the process of making this year our best attended year ever, exceeding even last year’s attendance which was the best we’d ever had.
I know there are many, many others that could and should be recognized, but I’m running out of space, so let me conclude with this. I’ve often said that the relationship between a pastor and his congregation is like that of a marriage, but as I was thinking about that recently, I came to realize that’s not the best analogy because when a bride and groom finally make it to their wedding day, they know one another very well. They’ve spent a lot of time together talking, sharing, and enjoying each other’s company. But when a pastor accepts a call to serve at a particular congregation as I did 24 years ago, he’s never met most of those people. He doesn’t know anything about them, not even their names. Nor do they know him. And the fact that such an arrangement ever works can only be attributed to the amazing grace and goodness of Him who is the Lord of the Church, our Savior Jesus Christ. So many thanks to Him for allowing me the privilege of serving such an amazing family of God’s people. I hope each one of you knows how much you are loved and appreciated by me, your exceedingly blessed and grateful shepherd.
Happy Congregation Appreciation Month!