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Saturday, October 30, 2010

11th Hour Preacher Party - Why we do it

I understand that October has been Clergy Appreciation Month in some congregations. I understand this, but I don't know it from experience, if you know what I mean. Actually, I don't know how I feel about the whole idea. It sounds very commercial, but at the same time, even if it is commercial, if it serves a good purpose, it certainly must not be harmful. Maybe it's like the way I hated Valentine's Day in middle school. When you're not getting any (Valentines or appreciation), you have no warm fuzzy feeling for the corresponding holidays.

Anyway, I haven't received any notes or cards or anything, but that's OK because after worship a couple of weeks ago I received this:

The child who wrote these notes during my sermon is 8 years old. She was the guest of some members on Sunday morning, but had never been to church before. I understand her home life is difficult. It meant the world to me and at the same time gave me energy to continue on in ministry and let me know that if all of it fell apart and my ministry ended tomorrow, I can know the Spirit flowed threw me at least once.

Ladies and Gents, what we do makes a difference. What we do matters. What we do shares God's love with the world!

What are you doing this week? What message will God speak through you tomorrow? What notes do you hope an 8 year old will scribble during your sermon?

Join the party in the comments and share the movement of the Spirit in our common task.


  1. Oh She Rev, what a great note!

    And October is Clergy Appreciation Month? Huh...

    I've got a communion/All Saint's meditation 9/10's done and have started working on next week's double whammy of a Consecration Sunday sermon and ordination service sermon. A few days ago I started to wonder if I could combine the two.

    I think I can, but I'm primarily focusing on the ordination one and then will adapt for us in my own church at Consecration Sunday.

    All is to say, I've got a lot of words to write by a week from now.

    Quiet morning to start, softball game at 2 and then I'm not sure. The Boy comes home at noon.

    I have corn bread muffins (leftover from last night), granola, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

  2. hi. a very full Saturday for me!

    I had one member give me a gift card to Starbucks this year, so I know it's Clergy Appreciation month.

    We're Lutheran, so we're doing a Reformation DAY service with a dramatic reading and several other participants. It's like herding sheep, so I hope it all turns out.

    plus a Bible class with third graders, smallest classe I've ever had.

    plus an informal "comforting the bereaved" service with a family from church.

    for some reason, I'll be glad when tomorrow is over.

    On a bright note, my husband and I joined the Y and found time to go for the first time last night.

    I AM going to get healthy.

    I got granola so far, hope for some pancakes later....

    She Rev, your note made me smile! a long time ago a girl scribbled a picture of me preaching on the back of her bulletin. I had it put in a frame and had it on my desk for a long time.

  3. ooops, I mean herding CATS, not sheep. sheesh.

  4. Hi,

    Clergy appreciation month??? Does Hallmark have a card for that?

    I'm preaching on aaints tomorrow lifting up Zaccheus as an unlikely saint.

  5. Welcome folks! Sorry I'm a little late coming back to the party myself. We had a rare morning where everyone either slept in or at least played happily and quietly so I took advantage of it.

    You do have a lot going on kathrynzj! Prayers for all your writing!

    Great job with the Y, Diane! There's something else we could do on a eventual get together. OK, maybe not. Food would be more fun!

    Hallmark does have a card for that G_G. They may have made it up. :)

    Gotta run. Apparently there's cat poop everywhere the kids are reporting. That probably means vomit, though. Oi!

  6. When I was a church staffer, I would enlist the kids and the youth to 'do something' to show the pastor we cared. This usually took the form of drawings/cards from the kids and the youth decorating the pastor's office. Nothing says love like a closet full of balloons and 11 rolls of crepe streamers!

    I'm not preaching tomorrow, just thought I'd drop in to offer support to those who are and some virtual fair trade coffee and homemade blueberry buckle.

  7. Good Halloween slip in my sermon: Meaning to type "glorification of death" I instead typed "gorification." Am thinking of keeping it in....

  8. Guest preaching this morning so -- as an early morning writer -- I am finally crawling out of bed after putting the finishing touches on my sermon and doing some other writing. My bed is strewn with books and notebooks, but I'm finished and ready for breakfast. Jesus calls to us when we are on the margins, as he does Zacchaeus. Had some much needed RevGal encouragement earlier this week.

    And thinking often about our QG and RevDrKate and Songbird and their sad losses of beloved animal friends Olivia and Bridget and Sam this week.

  9. It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood....a bit chilly, but the last leaves of fall are glorious.

    Tomorrow is going to be a mixed day; I'm preaching on Zaccheus at the 8:00 service, and I have notes from a few years ago (when I was a seminarian, actually) that I am going to draw on. At the 10:00 service we are having a Children's Joy Mass and we're riffing on All Hallow's Eve. When I planned this it seemed like a good way to draw together Hallowe'en and All Saints, and since I won't be here next Sunday, it will give me a chance to talk with the kids about All Saints, which I love to do, and to sing "I Sing a Song of the Saints of God" which is the first hymn I ever remember learning. So the kids are coming in costume and adults are invited to dress as saints (which probably only a couple will do :( but whatever). It may be chaos but hopefully it will be holy chaos.

    All that means that I have to do the sermon, and the kids' talk and prepare for the scavenger hunt after church. And I need to go and buy a gift for our parish administrator, whose last day was yesterday and who is coming to church tomorrow so that we can all say farewell.

    BTW, that's the first I've ever heard of clergy appreciation month. Huh...

  10. Queen Mum, keep it in! "Gory" now how can I get that in?

    I feel "Sheepish" b/c I am one of those pastors who got appreciated with gift cards and goodie bag (nuts & chocolate). This is the first congregation where I've received these kinds of gifts. the last one gave gifts at Christmas but the kids always drew pictures and such for us.

    I do feel very blessed to be here and do feel appreciated. I know this is rare so I'll try to enjoy it on behalf of all of you who go mostly un-noticed.

    Re: Tomorrow, I'm preaching All-Saints and have created an "i-movie" of comments that I recorded over the last 2 weeks. I'm hoping the background noise on some of them won't be too distracting. So I have a short meditation and know what I want to say but can't get an order or format together. HS please come!

  11. Toast with pumpkin butter in the offing...and two cranky mamas (apparently I woke my beloved to change a diaper by tapping her on the forehead, hard. In my defense I thought it was her shoulder.)

    That said, I'm focusing on the Isaiah...and tying it into the Luke by talking about the ridiculousness of worship. If God has rejected the "stuff" of worship in favor of the love of each other. why do we persist in gathering to worship? (As opposed to heading off to the nearest nursing home to care for widows and widowers every Sunday morning). Perhaps, because we need worship (more than ever) to remind us who we are and to whom we belong and to help us to understand why what we do in the world matters.

    If I finish my sermon by 4:30pm we are going out to dinner...that's my bribe so I better get cracking!

  12. I'm not writing a sermon for tomorrow but I have some other stuff to write so I'll be around on and off through the day.

  13. Have any of you heard Fred Craddock talk about the way to write a sermon? I'm going to try the computer version of it. You write down the quotes & phrases you know you want to say. Then you arrange them in a sensible order that flows. Then add any missing pieces. All that's left are transition statements. In theory, that is. I'll let you know how it comes out.

  14. I am preaching on Zacchaeus in the morning and Thessalonians in the evening as a guest preacher.

    I have been wondering about the possible interpretation of v 8 which has Zaccheaus already giving back rather than a future act. The more I read the story the better this interpretation sits.

    As I see it all Z's actions are of someone who has repented, and not of someone who is still the massive sinner as so often portrayed.

    In the story Z rushes ahead of the crowd, making a second attepmt to see Jesus, climbs a tree, and when called hurries and is joyful.
    If Z hadn't already taken steps in his life before this event towards restitution would he have been so eager?

    Isn't it possible the "once a sinner, always a sinner" mind set was at play against him.
    Could it actually be the crowd that are the lost in this story?

    Just a bunch of thoughts, wondering if I am about to be heretical?

    Kettle's on if anyone wants coffee.

  15. I'm preaching Zacchaeus as an unlikely saint (same as G_G) and also doing an All Saints candle lighting liturgy earlier in the service.

    Don't have a children's story yet? Any ideas would be most appreciated.

    I'm going this afternoon with a friend to see the movie "Hereafter." I'm looking forward to it.

  16. Revem, I didn't go in that direction, but I think you're on target.

  17. Nancy, that's pretty much how I think through a sermon in my head during the week before I head to the computer. I didn't know that it was an official method.

    Explains why the exegesis exam demand for an outline was problematic for me -- although in the end I did the same thing, took lots of walks musing over ideas and quotes and phrases and arranging and rearranging them in my head, and then typed them into an outline instead of a sermon.

  18. Revem, I've read a lot of comments this week about the tense of the verbs in the Greek being present, not future and about going in the direction you're going it. I like it, but for this year at least, I'm sticking with what I've got which is--would you climb a tree for Jesus?

    Anywho, I have a draft which came quickly from my old notes, tbtG. Now I need to shower and dress and get all the rest of my list done.

    Lots of prayers and hugs for Martha and others who've lost beloved pets this week. So sad and so hard.

  19. Sermon at 'preachable' level. Now I'm off to play softball and then tonight I will get to watch the baseball game with The Boy since they are starting the game at 6:30 instead of 8:30. YAY!!!

  20. sermon of dot 2 dot 2 dot... going a big FAT nowhere. rambling, stumbling, bumbling... and my hope is that the holy spirit fills in the cracks and it works. i've not the energy to regroup... just barely mustering energy to finish it off.

  21. My sermon has been a real fight today, but is finally in an editing form. I don't want to leave it now, so I'm bailing on an acquaintance's ordination who is using our church building. I need some forgiveness and absolution RevGals...

  22. Clergy Appreciation is definitely a Hallmark-ish creation. I received a Pastor's Wife Appreciation card. Nice, but...really? (I am also a pastor's wife, so it's not so weird as it could be).

    My sermon Saints, because the congregation I'm supplying this week is observing this week. Right now it feels like a stream of consciousness meditation on the word "saint." Using the Ephesians text.

    Also seeking a children's sermon. Have checked the usual suspects, but nothing is tickling my fancy.

    For now, it's naptime around here. Since we had sisters-tagteam wakeups all night long, I'm going to join them.

  23. Here's my only lead on a Children's sermon from Clergy Journal's May-June 2010 planning issue.
    "Ask if they have ever been in a huge crowd, what did they see and hear, could they see the end of the crowd?, Mention all saints day, remembering that we are part of a really huge crowd made up of all the people who have loved God and followed in God's ways since the beginning of time.
    Invite them to guess how many people, invite others to name some, name each child. Also can invite children to dance to some joyful music as a way of celebrating."

    I'll probably use a version of it.

  24. Love the note SheRev! I have been out of the game the past two weekends and so my sermon has been stirring in the pot for over a week. I am not sure it is so fresh anymore, but I am going to preach it anyway since nothing better has come along. Went on an Emmaus walk this past weekend and then the annual retreat/conference for the Order of St. Luke this week (speaker was Ruth Duck! Yeah!). Great times making new friends and reconnecting with old ones but not so much thinking about the texts.
    I am going with Habakkuk and Zaccheus climbing up high to find God, and how sometimes we are called to climb up high for those who can't and call out to God to listen. Talking a lot about bullying since the suicides of a few weeks ago have greatly affected me, especially with three daughters headed for adolescence in the next 5 years. Hoping it all hangs together.
    We don't have much here to eat but I'll share the other half of my can of lentil soup and some hummus and pita for anyone who's interested!
    Praying for SB and all who lost pets this week, it is so hard.

  25. She Rev your words were just what I needed this morning as I continue to struggle with the blues from an unknown origin. I couldn't get myself off dead center to write anything until about 2 hours ago when I read your post. I finally went back to a sermon I preached 4 years ago on that same passage and was able to use about half of it. I'm actually finished now!

    As usual I'm way out in left field from the rest of you. I'm preaching on our membership vows for a few weeks. This week is service. The scripture is Mark 1: 29-31 the healing of Peter's m-i-l and her response in service. I'm doing All Saints next Sunday and preaching on witness.

    So now it's past lunchtime, but we are just having lunch. Tuna anyone?

  26. I have written/rewritten tomorrow's sermon every day this week, in part because this has been a week of listening to so many people in more than one venue from lectures to one on one conversations. I began angry and have ended up more at the end of the sermon than at the beginning.

    The last set of lectures I heard were on atonement and I began to think of Jesus taking Zaccheus' place in/on the tree so that no one ever has to climb the tree again to see him, to be invited to dinner and/or to be made whole.

    I like the idea that Zaccheus had already repented and that is why he is so anxious to see Jesus. That may well be close to the beginning of my sermon. Thanks!

  27. back briefly, after:

    1. holding a bible class for a few third graders and their parents.
    2. having a short service for "comforting the bereaved" for a family here at church.
    3. calling a bunch of people about worship stuff
    4. practicing the saturday version of my sermon once
    5. rehearsing the tomorrow version with a few of the participants.

    will be back again.

  28. I'm doing what I don't like to do tomorrow, and this time I mean it: I'm going to my files.
    We had to put our dog, Sam, to sleep yesterday, and I am wrecked. So a favorite old sermon about Zacchaeus makes sense. I made some adjustments to it earlier in the week, knowing this was coming.
    After church there is a party for one of our members who is turning 100 years old, then I am taking off for a couple of days to visit a friend and get away from the dog-empty house.

  29. Peace to you Songbird, and others wrestling with grief of the dog, or other saints, variety.

    Esperanza, I am doing a similar stream of consciousness from Ephesians on "saints." So far it's mostly stream, with not much consciousness. And I'm on page 5. And sort of just got to the text. Oops.

    But the pumpkin is carved!

    I have homemade avocado dip to share. But you'll need your own tortilla chips 'cause we are out.

    My word verification says "bumsista."

  30. So sorry to start this party and then just ditch it! We had a Trick or Trunk at church afternoon so my morning was occupied with building my trunk's decoration, and then the afternoon was spent handing out candy. Now I'm praying the baby will fall asleep like the big kids have so I can get some writing done. I told my husband this one would be done before I took the big kids to see Annie tonight at the local theater. Nothing much written yet, but I got my "way in" idea while listening to the book "The Help" on my iPod this morning.

    Prayers for those in need of prayers, especially Songbird. I saw that note last night late, and I know this must be incredibly hard for you.

    mid-life rookie, I'm glad it could help!!!

    Anyone need anything else? That avocado dip idea just sent me upstairs to where I have some guacamole in the fridge. Yum!!!

    bumsista - - hee hee

  31. Well, 4 months since the move and we are now up to 2 deaths I wish I had been there for. One was a month ago, 1 woman a few months shrot of her centenary, this week teh husband of the BOard chair died.

    Wasn't ready for how hard it would be to hear these things and not be there....

  32. I'm wracking my brains trying to write Prayers of the Church that encapsulate Reformation Sunday, All Saints' Day and Confirmation. My head is just not in the game. Ugh.

    Lots of leftover game-day chicken wings here -- peanut/ginger, Parmesan and beer/chipotle. MSU lost; my appetite is gone, LOL...have at 'em!

  33. I'm sorry for you, Gord. I understand those feelings or at least how I felt when I experienced similar losses from afar.

    Sounds lie one of those prayers that seems easy in theory, but is harder when it comes time to do. Good luck, LC. A theme of the movement of the spirit in the church/history, in the lives of young people, and in the lives of those who have shared their faith with the rest of us might be a place to go.

    Well, it's been a quiet party, and I apologize for being such an absentee hostess. I'm about to head out again. I'm taking my "big" kids to see Annie. I'll be back for the late night party.

  34. Here's a last minute All Saint's children's idea I'm using. I took 10 minutes and made up a quick scavenger hunt form for the kids to "Find a saint who....was baptized here...plays a musical instrument...has taught you something...has blue eyes...etc." Will hand them out and ask them to fill them in during fellowship time after church. Considering prizes to sweeten the deal....

  35. I am busily making my costume for the Reformation Day Costume Contest (I am going as "sola scriptura," with Bible verses written on an old sheet tunic), but wanted to share the Reformation Day children's sermon I posted on my long-neglected, really-am-going-to-keep-up-with-it-this-time blog. Here you go:

  36. I didn't actually work on anything that I thought I would. But that's actually okay.

    I almost forgot the Halloween thing at church tonight but remembered in plenty of time.

    I'm going to watch the rest of the World Series game and then go to bed.

    RevNightOwls -Y'all will have to suffer along without me tonight. See you next week.

    Blessings on your Sunday

  37. I'm back, potluck dish in the oven for hubby's church tomorrow (hm, if only *someone* had remembered that earlier in the day!). Need to work on the sermon draft, write a prayer, come up with a children's sermon (thanks for the ideas, keep 'em coming), figure out what the girls and I are wearing tomorrow, and all that stuff that happens between "I'm going to bed" and actually doing so.

  38. Spent many hours encouraging/ editing as Manboy finished two college application essay. Actually had some lughs with him over the fact the word bequeathed simply didn't fit in his essay no matter how much he wanted to use it.

    Small detour to say Texas Rangers won!

    Blessings to all of you for tomorrow. Lean on the Spirit. I sure will be.

  39. hi, back briefly again. kind of bummed because we were going to go to the Y again tonight and it closed early.

    had an ok service tonight. a little nervous about the Reformation Drama tomorrow.

    I'm looking forward to having a day off on Monday. first total day off for about three weeks.

  40. OK, I'm calling it a night. I think I have everything ready for worship tomorrow. Diaper bags, snacks,and potlucks will have to wait for morning.

  41. I remember clergy appreciation from being Baptist. Actually, some churches make a big to do over "THE pastor and HIS WIFE>"
    Yup, in the Octobers that i have been in a church, I had not been "appreciated" as such.
    However, i do have the joy of drawings like this one and sweet notes that I get "jsut because" which is far better to me. It is nice to be remembered on a special holiday, but better yet to get something "jsut because."

  42. And many prayers for Songbird as you deal with the loss of a truly great saint.
    Peace as you take the much needed time off

  43. Gee - - I'm back to a lowkey party! Annie was great. I lip-synced every song. Miss Hannigan was played by one of the kids' former daycare teachers. Part of the way through Godzilla (3) said, "Why is Ms. Larsen being so mean?"

    I don't have much written, but a lot in my head (in order). I also don't need as much because I have an interactive piece in the middle. It will take about 5-7 minutes so I have to be pretty succinct. Shouldn't take too long. Nursing Pearl to sleep now, and then I'll get to it.

  44. More than halfway done, so I'm going to head to bed here shortly. I don't have too much left to do and my eyes are pretty droopy.

  45. Well, it really was a super quiet party. I hope everyone who is preaching or leading worship is well rested and feeling good. I'm up about 30 minutes later than I planned, but with most of my work done, so I'm not worried. I should be finished before everyone else wakes up in the next hour or so. Grace and peace to you all!

  46. well, I'm tired and I'm nervous, but here I go! Come, Holy Spirit!

    Songbird, especially praying for you this weekend.

  47. Why must preachers' children run fevers on Sunday morning?

    Hoping everyone else is having a good Sunday morning.


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