This past Sunday afternoon, I was at church with my son. He was playing in the back and I was meeting with a couple of people in the front. A man from the congregation came by and did some minor repairs on the building, including changing lightbulbs. My son followed him around- interested in the tools, the big ladder, and the work that was going, just like any 6-year-old would be.
He said to me, “I’m watching him change the lights.”
I replied, “Mr. —- is a ‘church building helper’. He does things to make sure things work around here. Would you like to do that when you get older?”
Son replied, “I can’t. I’m going to be a park ranger.”
“Oh,” I smiled. “Mr. —- has another job that he does all the time. In fact, almost everyone in the church- except Mommy- has another job. But part of being the church together means using other things you’re good at to help around the building or in the community. You can be a park ranger AND a church helper.”
We talked through the people we knew and their day jobs or work and what they do around the church. This person teaches Sunday school, but is also a childcare provider. This person mows the lawn, but is also a wood turner and math teacher. This person goes to lots of meetings, but also helps set up the sanctuary. A church needs a lot of building helpers and ministry helpers. Yet, there is also that one person who stands in the middle of it all- drawing eyes toward God, toward experience, toward sacraments and sacramental experience.
That person – that one in the middle – needs a place to be herself. He needs a place to exhale and inhale community and companionship. She needs a place to be safe, to be heard, to speak, and to be spoken to.
A church that has been created for those needs is this blog and its extant ministries of a very large Facebook group, in real life meet-ups, personal friendships forged and strengthened, and the reality of a church made stronger by the Spirit through the air and the wires. This congregation has a lot of “church helpers”- writers, praying people, Facebook friends, Twitters users, cruise planners, sharers of skills, and community organizers. We also have one paid person who stands in the middle, directing traffic and shouldering the story of our congregation – our Executive Director,
This congregation needs its “church helpers” with their generous spirits. We also need the financial support of all our members. The “lights” don’t stay on magically- just like in our real congregations. Martha’s time is worth our money both with regard to her hands-on work in standing in the middle of this ministry, as well as the time she spends visioning the future of this very real congregation.
Every donation to RevGalBlogPals matters. Every dollar helps give real support. Even the smallest on-going donation is valuable and valued. We need you to realize your place in this community and to support it to the best of your ability, commensurate with the value it has in your life. Do you come every week for the Preacher Party? Do the daily prayers gives structure to your week? Do you have a growing To Be Read list because of the book reviews? $10 a month from each of our most regular visitors would enable us to pay our Executive Director a salary that would be appropriate for a part-time call, which is about the number of hours she gives to this church.
There’s a button just to the right of the top of this post. Click it and give today. You can be a pastor and a “church helper” for this congregation. It’s how church keeps happening.
The Reverend Julia Seymour
Lutheran Church of Hope, Anchorage, Alaska
President, RevGalBlogPals Board of Directors
3 thoughts on “In the Company of the Saints”
There is definite value for one’s dollar (or Pound Sterling, Euro…) here. Happy to help.
I am so thankful for this ministry and have donated occasionally in the past. I have committed to a monthly donation even though PayPal won’t let me set it up that way! But Google calendar reminds me!
Love this reflection, Julia. Thank you!