“If the only prayer we ever say…”

“If the only prayer we ever say in our lives is ‘thank you,’ that will be enough.”

Meister Eckhart

To my clergy colleagues:

  • Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your ministries for the past 6 years
  • Thank you for your amazing service to Christ, which you do selflessly, quietly, and without fanfare
  • Thank you for the ways in which you lead your churches to connect with your communities
  • Thank you for noticing the children, nurturing the youth, visiting those who are in crisis, and caring for the sick and dying
  • Thank you for offering the bread and cup to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ and seek to live in peace and harmony with their neighbors
  • Thank you for modeling stewardship and faithful giving
  • Thank you for teaching your congregations what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ through Bible study, sermons, missions, service, and simply by being who you are
  • Thank you for networking, sharing resources, offering encouragement, and praying for each other
  • Thank you for your attempts to be healthy, maintain balance in your lives, and be whole persons.
  • Thank you for seeking spiritual direction, forming covenant groups, and gathering together for sermon planning 
  • Thank you for the earnest way in which you make wise yet agonizing choices in how you use your time, how you organize and set priorities for ministry, and how care for your most precious relationships 
  • Thank you for seeking continuous improvement: always growing, always gaining new skills, always discerning how the Spirit is moving
  • Thank you for reinventing your ministry with each new appointment or within your existing appointment 
  • Thank you for offering your parishioners a biblical and countercultural way of looking at power, success, prestige, status, and inclusivity
  • Thank you for your willingness to challenge your congregations to do and be more than they think they can do and be 
  • Thank you for your eagerness to stretch beyond the needs of your local church to embrace mission and ministry around the world, especially through ministry shares, our partnership in Haiti, and the Ubuntu Gathering Center at Africa University
  • Thank you for volunteering to serve beyond the local church in your community as well as at the district and conference level
  • Thank you for your good nature in preparing those pesky church conference documents every fall
  • Thank you for your diligence in encouraging your parishioners to attend training events when it would be easy to dismiss them as just one more thing to do
  • Thank you for sticking with The United Methodist Church in a time of uncertainty, upheaval, change, and differing viewpoints
  • Thank you for trusting me enough to share your deepest struggles as well as your greatest joys

To clergy spouses:

  • Thank you for making it possible for your spouse to offer him or herself in ministry, knowing that at times it may mean early mornings, late nights, missed meals, disrupted weekends, and interrupted family events
  • Thank you for your patience with disgruntled parishioners, parsonages that are not your dream house, and church members who have unrealistic expectations of your church involvement
  • Thank you for your flexibility in living with an appointment system that does not always seem to honor your career, at the same challenging the cabinet to be more understanding of dual career families
  • Thank you for having the courage to be who you are despite the stereotypes that others have of clergy spouses

To laity:

  • Thank you for welcoming me to worship in your churches on Sunday morning
  • Thank you for the daily motivation you give me by living out your faith at work, school, and home
  • Thank you for your willingness to discern and use your spiritual gifts and develop new ones
  • Thank you for the sacrifices you make to follow God’s call
  • Thank you for your hunger to know the scriptures, think theologically, and tend to your spiritual life
  • Thank you for your longing to do ministry with excellence and desire to improve the functioning of church committees and systems
  • Thank you for your prayer support
  • Thank you for not viewing the church as a haven from the world but as a place to be strengthened for ministry in, for, and with the world
  • Thank you for having the vision to see beyond the needs of your own church and reach out to the world in mission
  • Thank you for your spiritual discipline of generosity

To all of you:

  • Thank you for keeping on keeping on when you are disappointed, disillusioned, discouraged, and despairing, knowing that God is journeying with you whether you feel it or not
  • Thank you for inspiring me every day by your integrity, strength, and faithfulness
  • Thank you for offering me the gift of great hope for the future of the church
  • Thank you for allowing me the high privilege of being a part of your lives in some small way
  • Most of all, thank you for leading from your hearts

“All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love

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