Guest Post: During Clergy Appreciation Month, Mosaic Celebrates Faith Leaders
October is Clergy Appreciation Month. Because faith and spirituality are equally important to the people we serve to develop full, meaningful lives, Mosaic thanks all our partner pastors and faith leaders who, as we do, welcome and love people of all abilities in their faith communities.
Pastor Twila Schock, Mosaic’s Vice President of Church Relations and International Programming, shares her own experience of the true meaning of Clergy Appreciation Month and its historical beginnings.
It was 2018, and I was in parish ministry. The conversation was so predictable, it almost became a ritual.
“MJ” was physically impaired. But, far too proud to let me make my regular pastoral visit at her home, she would insist on meeting me for lunch at a local restaurant.
When the bill arrived, and we both reached for it as usual, the conversation would repeat itself:
“Please, MJ, allow me to pay. You treated last time!” I would push back.
“No, absolutely not,” was her response. “It reads in the Bible you’re supposed to take care of your pastor!”
I debated, “MJ, now where does it say that?”
“I don’t know where. I just know—because I was raised by nuns in a Catholic school—it reads that somewhere.
“I think it reads I should take you to lunch,” she laughed.
“Right, MJ!” I teased, relatively certain I was correct. “I’m pretty sure there’s not a Bible verse about treating your pastor to lunch.”
Turns out, MJ was more accurate than I gave her credit for.
Since 1992, October has been observed as Clergy Appreciation Month in the U.S. But, the call to honor the work of Church leaders dates back to antiquity. The Apostle Paul, the mission developer of many of the first Christian churches, was a strong advocate for supporting Church leaders. In 1 Timothy 5:17, he writes that those “who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor.” He especially lifts up “those whose work is preaching and teaching.”
He encouraged the community in Thessalonica “to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” He believed those who were called to spiritual leadership should be held “in the highest regard in love because of their work.”
We at Mosaic hold pastors, priests, missionaries, deacons and all who provide spiritual leadership in communities of faith in high regard. Indeed, it was the leadership and vision of one pastor, K.G. William Dahl, who, in 1913, led the 54 members of his small congregation, each giving a dollar, to create Mosaic as a refuge, a source of hope and belonging for those who had difficulty fitting into their communities. In the decades since, spiritual leaders have led their communities of faith to help resource and sustain this ministry.
So, in this month when we lift up those who provide spiritual leadership, we say thank you! Thank you for tirelessly loving the communities who have called you. Thank you for continuing God’s work.
Thank you for your support and encouragement of Mosaic’s ministry and our Mission to embrace God’s call in relentlessly pursuing opportunities that empower people with diverse needs.