6 September 2021  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

Does the calendar still have a day set aside for appreciation of pastors? If so, how can the church best celebrate this day in accordance with the Church Manual?

Signed, Planning Ahead

Dear Planning:

Pastors’ Appreciation Day—actually known as Clergy Appreciation Day to take into account those religions who use other titles like Rabbi or Father—began as an interdenominational event, and has been adopted by some Adventist churches. Here in North America it is scheduled for the 2nd weekend of October—though there’s no reason you couldn’t do it any time, because appreciation is always appreciated. Churches can make a formal statement to the pastor and family, give a small gift, and have a decorated cake for fellowship dinner. Don’t forget to thank the pastor’s wife, too, who in most churches contributes to the church program. 

To Aunty’s knowledge, there is no prescribed program in the Church Manual. That would defeat the purpose. Real appreciation comes from the heart. 

These events can be lovely and encouraging, and I hope all churches do it. However, just keep in mind that appreciation on a particular day should be a reflection of appreciation every day. Aunty here dares to speak for all pastors everywhere: there isn’t a single pastor alive who wouldn’t value ordinary everyday kindness, courteous interaction, and patience over a single big celebratory day in October. (Aunty remembers a pastor she knew well feeling quite uncomfortable on Pastor’s Appreciation Day, because he had to listen to public praise and get a gift card to Olive Garden from the same elder who’d criticized him cruelly at a board meeting just the week before.)

Please, people: let’s make churches places of kindness. Why do some pastors get blasted for every little difference in theology or practice? Why is the happiness of so many congregations overshadowed by conflict and bitterness? What happened to the most important behavioral instruction Jesus ever gave: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”?

Let’s make Pastor’s Appreciation Day an affirmation of our kindness to our pastors every day.

Aunt Sevvy

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