This past week I have been thinking a lot about all our staff and volunteers here at the twinned parishes at St. Peter and St. Paul. I am very blessed to have such a great group of people working with me!
Our paid staff, for example, are all employees willing to go that extra mile when need be to accomplish any task or get the job done. Each of them works very hard and is willing to help each other out when one or another has to have a personal day off for family or simply wants to take some time for vacation. We all need that! All have been very flexible and willing to help fill in. Here at St. Peter and St. Paul we have about 15 paid staff members whose contracts range anywhere from 5 hrs/wk to 40 hrs/wk. depending on their task at hand. Their flexibility helps our bottom line. I know for a fact that many of our staff, see their work as not just a job, but also as a calling, a ministry they provide. Yes, at times it can be challenging with unexpected changes or miscommunications or turns of events, but they seem to endure it well. This past week I hosted a staff retreat for our employees, a sort of time for reflection and also enjoyment for bonding. This said, if you get a chance, please thank them as I do. They do a wonderful job despite the fact that things can come at them pretty fast and work can get pretty hectic!
Secondly, I am very thankful for all our volunteers and those who put themselves out there to be truly helpful and involved. We have liturgists, choir members, musicians, lectors, Extra-ordinary Eucharistic ministers, acolytes, altar servers, ushers, greeters, technology people, sacristans, decorators and that is just for our wonderful weekend liturgies! Outside of that we have members who are on our Parish Councils, Finance Committees, money counters, Endowment Committees, Maintenance Committees, K.C. men’s and Christian women’s groups, prayer groups, study groups, hospital and home visitors, catechists, parish bazaar chairs, funeral groups, those who head up our Art and Soul Committee, VBS, Theater camp, social ministry groups for Church of the Week and Saturday meals program, ASA school volunteers, and even those who extend their time beyond St. Peter and St. Paul to help in places like the local food shelf, Place of Hope, Habitat for Humanity, and a host of other areas I am not even aware of or have forgotten to mention. To all of these, I also want to say Thank you! You truly bring about the Kingdom of God in our World!
In the past, we tend to call these people “volunteers” but in my mind I would like to see them as true “disciples” followers of Jesus who feel a need to give back to God and provide some return for the blessings they have received in Christ. “What you have freely received, freely give,” are words Jesus gave to his disciples as he sent them forth to preach the good news and heal the broken hearted. To me, all our volunteers are doing exactly that! I know that not everyone has the health or availability of time to be so involved. In that case, I ask that you please say “Thank you!” to those who do put themselves out. Sure, no one is perfect and everyone does make mistakes, and yet each deserves our understanding and respect. A little thank you goes a long way in encouraging them!
Whether paid staff or “disciple/volunteers” each of our people makes my job as a pastor/priest easier and our community and world a little better place to live. God’s blessing on you all for your great work!
Words to live by: “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”