We are continuing to celebrate clergy this month. And we have five ways to inspire you to do the same. As I was thinking about Clergy Appreciation Month recently, I posted this question on Facebook.
It seemed to resonate. A lot. And soon we were overwhelmed with the responses of people from around the world naming a clergy person (or several) who impacted their lives. You can read through these responses. Please take a moment to share your appreciation and celebration this week, and tell a clergy person that they are seen and loved.
Five Ways We Celebrate Clergy
We invite you to show appreciation for the clergy people in your life. How will you let them know that their ministry matters?
Last week we shared 10 Ways to Appreciate Clergy. One of those ways is to share a story. So we are sharing some stories about clergy persons who made an impact. We see you, clergy friends. And we are deeply grateful for your love, friendship, support, mentoring, and presence in the lives of countless people.
1. We celebrate ministers who hear the stirring of the Spirit in a person’s life. We see them nudge the called toward naming their callings.
Rev. Dr. Alfie Wines heard her pastor Rev. Roderick Miles, preach about changing careers. “This fascinated me. . . the idea of someone actually changing careers really got my attention,” Dr. Wines said. Rev. Miles encouraged her to consider ministry and Divinity school. After seventeen years of pastoral ministry, Dr. Wines now writes and has a consulting business that “empowers women to execute their own breakthrough, connect the broken pieces, get unstuck, create a new future story, and live their best lives.”
For ministers who help discern a calling, we give thanks.
2. We celebrate ministers who are shaping sacred spaces and shaping pastoral imagination.
Rev. Jennifer Hornbuckle shares that Rev. Denny Spear was a mentor during her seminary experience at McAfee School Of Theology. He was the director of the Interfaith Airport Chapel at Hartsfield International Airport (now Hartsfield-Jackson). He modeled how to be open to the varied experiences within an international airport and made space for worship with moveable pieces – moveable crosses, icons, and spiritual symbols. There were directional pointers on the floor, and prayer rugs, particularly for Muslim worshippers, but others who might use them.
Jennifer who is a chaplain says, “Denny taught me the importance of moveable worship objects so that space could be created for all people to pray, or worship as they needed to.” Rev. Hornbuckle tells the story of holy encounters in the airport. “A man who was taking his first flight to a nearby state to enter rehab. First flight, and rehab. He was scared to death. I listened to him and prayed with him. Denny helped me expand on what I knew to create a “safe space” for people.
For ministers who create moveable sacred spaces, we give thanks.
3. We celebrate ministers who hold space in the raw, vulnerable moments.
John Hilpert shared about Chaplain Christopher. This chaplain offered compassionate care in the moments of learning that a loved one was near death. Chaplain Christopher’s ministry in that moment was “personalized and caring, practical and spiritual needs.” We know that chaplains in this pandemic time have faced tremendous challenges and met unprecedented needs with creative care.
For ministers who offer care amidst grief, trauma, and fear, we give thanks.
4. We celebrate ministers who invite young leaders to use their voices.
Rev. Jen Van Camp says Wyndee Ezell Holbrook strengthened and challenged her to be genuine in her faith. Wyndee encouraged Jen to take on leadership by participating in the spring break mission trip. She helped her become involved in planning the weekly worship service and becoming a part of the praise band. “I’m so grateful to her for her mentoring and now, her friendship. I really respect and admire her as a strong female minister and colleague and friend. She’s a force and I’m so glad she’s in my life some 26 years later!”
For ministers who share leadership with younger generations, we give thanks.
5. We see and celebrate you! Now it’s your turn.
Who are the ministers, chaplains, activists, mentors, and professors who inspire you? How have they supported and loved you through important moments in your life?
We invite you to share this image as you give thanks and celebrate the important ministers in your life.
We want to know more of your stories and to connect with you!
Join us on Facebook. Or follow along with us on Instagram! And we will follow back to see what is going on in your ministry world.
Do you have your copy of Pastoral Imagination and the companion Pastoral Imagination Journal? Maybe you would like to give a copy to a clergy person that you appreciate this month. Check your weekly 3MMM email for a special clergy appreciation code to use in the 3MMM shop in October. Not on the email list? Well, you can remedy that here and now!