This weekend we will celebrate the time of Pastoral Ministry for my father . I don’t know if I’ve ever written about the fact that we have celebrations but I think its fitting , considering the occasion. Pastor appreciation services are a staple in the black community. The Church spends most of the year having fashion shows, fish fries , yard sales and special services , “on behalf of our Pastor.’ Each committee is well represented and there is an elected board ( not sure how that works) that determines who speaks on the programs, what the pastor and the family wears, what the church will eat and probably what they church would wear.
My earliest memories of church are Pastor appreciation services. I remember the outfits and that parade we made down the aisle of the church while people stood and clapped. I wondered what they were clapping for and why I was walking to the front of the church to sit on a couch , yes a couch in the church with my parents. They made it really homey looking in the church with a couch and a lamp inside the church . Pretty cleaver and kinda country all at the same time.
That day people who have never spoken before spoke to us and told us (and I say us because everyone usually included the entire family ) how much they appreciated and loved their PASTAH! A lot of tears shed, money exchanged , flowers and cards and then dinner was served. No appreciation service was complete without Chicken Dressing, Green Beans, Corn, Chicken , rolls and of course numerous sweets. We may not have always had name brand sodas but after a long day in church BIG K’s would hit the spot. And nobody could eat before the Pastor ate and there was someone standing guard to make sure that didn’t happen . After all it was his day .
It was only until I was an adult that I realized why Pastor’s were celebrated . There is a scripture in the bible that says, “You must not muzzle an ox to keep it from eating as it treads out the grain.” And in another place, “Those who work deserve their pay!” Being a pastor is a great sacrifice, it is a position that is not for the weak at heart. It is not about the glitz and the glam, its not about the new suits, those purple labels, and that brand new Cadillac . It’s certainly not a position that offers 401k’s , life or health insurances. And unless you’re not the founder of that beautiful building , something is in your name.Pastor’s are the first to be called in the case of an emergency . They are there for deaths and births. And fortunately or unfortunately depending on the time of the call, usually get the first call from a jail , collect.
As a teen and partly throughout my twenties I hated the choice that my father made to Pastor , but now I stand proudly with him . I’m proud of all of his accomplishments and his failures. I appreciate his life of integrity and his servants heart . He has taught me so much without saying a word and for this he is worthy to be celebrated.
Celebrating 43 years and counting…