Show Them the Love!

Published on: September 1, 2012

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Start a Minister Appreciation Day (or Month) at Your Spiritual Community.

Did you know that October is Clergy Appreciation Month? Me neither. In the nearly 20 years I have belonged to Unity congregations, I have never heard this mentioned, nor have I witnessed an actual “Minister Appreciation Day.” Apparently this is common custom in the traditional Protestant church, and it is one that aligns well with our own Unity principles: that which we appreciate appreciates!

And now, friends, we ask you to honor those leaders who work so hard for you, who have been given the responsibility of urging and guiding you along in your obedience. Overwhelm them with appreciation and love. (The Message)

Rev Joan Gattuso with Rev Ric Schumacher

Unity of Greater Cleveland took the above passage to heart and held a Minister Appreciation Day for Rev Joan Gattuso last December. Rudi Barnes, a staff member at the church, recounts a special service held for Rev Joan in which a close friend and fellow Unity minister, Rev Ric Schumacher, spoke and presented her with a liturgical stole. Then the congregation had the opportunity to speak.

“Congregant after congregant stood up and spoke eloquently and with heartfelt emotion about what Rev Joan means to them and how she had in some way helped them during a challenge, or guided them on their spiritual path,” Rudi recalls. After this tribute, the board chair presented Rev Joan with a gift of nearly $3,000, which was donated by their 70-member congregation.

Rev Joan says of the experience, “It was an honor and a delight to be so recognized. Deep down we all appreciate being appreciated, and it’s important to feel that we really are making a difference in people’s lives. So this coming together of the congregation to acknowledge my ministry really touched my heart and soul.”

If by now you are feeling inspired to honor your own minister or other staff members, there are resources available from a few traditional church organizations, such as Focus on the Family and Christianity Today. See “Looking for Ideas?” below for more details.

As for Unity of Greater Cleveland? Last year’s Minister Appreciation Day was such a blessing to all who participated that the board decided it will be an annual event. This year it will be held in early November, to coincide with Rev Joan’s birthday.

Looking for Ideas?

The resources below provide many terrific ideas for honoring and appreciating your minister—for a day, for a month, or every day of the year.

Lisa Colburn

Lisa Colburn is a writer, writing workshop leader, and former editor of the Alban Institute’s Congregations magazine. She is an active member of Unity of Fairfax in Oakton, Va.

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