by the Rev. Bob Olsen
At coffee hour a month ago when this issue of the By George comes out, Lani Hahn was talking to me about how we might recognize folks at St. George’s for all they do to keep our little church going. Over the years Sandy and I have been members of small, medium and large churches, but regardless of size it seemed like 90% of the work was done by a couple dozen folks. St. George’s is and has been very different, here a 100% of the congregation do 100% of the work, something I discovered last year when I handed out the little St. George’s medals. And yes what each of us does varies, but everyone does something that contributes to St. George’s, whether they think of it as a ministry or not, service to the church and others is a ministry.
Thinking more about my conversation with Lani, it would take over 3 1⁄2 years, if we were to monthly recognize one person off my St. George’s medal list. And I’m sure by then others should be added before we got to the 44th person on my list, we’d have gotten new members who would have also joined the ranks of those “doing” the work at St. George’s. Folks who are doing the work/ministries, on a week-in, week-out bases throughout the year, that get things done and make St. George’s, St. George’s.
If we were to do some kind of recognition program where would we start? Who would be the first person to be recognized? Now I have a few candidates, Bill Kaler, Jan Mirrione, Roger Jenkins and Mel Rose, but that’s because they all did things recently that affected me personally. Bill not only dug the hole in the memorial seating area, but then got the sand and installed the pavers, something Mel and I have been talking about for a year or so. In addition to all the other things they do, at the end of October Jan and Roger organized and supervised the Garden Cleanup day – having taking over the administration and running of the Community Garden, a ministry that I gave up with my retirement. And a second nod to Roger for repainting the parking lot strips, giving me something to aim at on Sunday mornings. I mention Mel, as my partner in crime for various projects and usually the first person to get back to me saying he’ll cover on Sunday’s I’m gone. And no surprise to the others who write monthly articles for the By-George, Lani would be at the top of my list for giving me an idea for my article this month, no small gift indeed.
It wouldn’t take me more than a few minutes to come up with dozens of Person of the Month 7 more names of those who do so much for St George’s – our office volunteers, Altar Guild, Choir, coffee host/hostess, Round Table, Sunday School students and teachers, ushers, lectors, Eucharistic Ministers, Eucharistic Visitors (and those that visit without a license), By George editor, Vestry members, Scholarship chair, board and interview panel members, Stewardship committee, Congregational Commission on Ministry, Bible Study groups, and makers of Stained Glass Windows. And I am absolutely sure I’ve left off other groups or individual ministries being performed by the members of our congregation that should be recognized.
Within the Christian tradition, there has always been the understanding that we are each called to ministry. The Catechism in our Book of Common Prayer (page 855), tells us that the ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. For those of us who have been around a while, we may have noticed that was a change from the 1928 BCP, which listed the ministers as bishops, priests and deacons. Recognizing the ministry of lay persons in our current Prayer Book was not some touchy-feely addition coming out of the 1960’s. Rather, it got us back to the concept of the laity being one of the Orders of ministers that can be traced back to the earliest church writings (First Epistle of Clement A.D. 96). At St George’s we are continuing to live out that tradition of the ministry of all Christians whether, laity, bishops, priests or deacons.
This month before the services begin or during coffee hour, I’d like you to thank each other for all you have done, are doing or will do to make St Georges such a vital and vibrant church. A place where each of us contributes to the success of St George’s, making it “My church” to requote Natalie, from our Senor Warden’s article last month.