I cannot believe a whole month has flown by since I moved to Fairbury! The time has gone quickly as I have learned to connect a few names with faces and look forward to the day when I can quit asking nearly everyone I see to please give me their name again! The boxes are now unpacked and I have a pile going to the Rummage Sale this week of things I brought along in the move but have decided I do not need here.
I know everyone carries in your mind and heart some expectations of what the pastor will do, how the pastor will respond in certain situations and even how a pastor “looks.” I also carry expectations of myself and of congregations. I think it would be helpful to share some of those with you.
I expect to spend time in the office most mornings except Friday. I need to have time to relax, be quiet, rest, do errands or laundry and the like. I chose Friday many years ago because it seems to work best in the flow of the work week at a church. Very few events happen at churches on Fridays. When they do, I just move my day off to one that is free for that week. My expectation of your response to my day off is that you will honor that little break each week and wait for another day to contact me with things that are important, but do not need an immediate response from me. If there is such a need, PLEASE contact me! Since I avoid email on days off, call me on my cell phone.
I expect to visit everyone who goes to the hospital for surgery or illness. This means I need to know when you are having scheduled surgery and if you go suddenly to the hospital and cannot contact me yourself, please ask a friend or family member to do so. Hospital staff is not always able to make timely calls and often no one does so on weekends at all. Do not assume I will hear through the grapevine. When you count on it to get word out, that is when it won’t!
I expect to go to many meetings. However, if you want to make sure I can attend a meeting, please let me know you expect me to be there and be open to changing it if there is a conflict. As pastor I am expected to be at all Ad Council, Finance and PPRC meetings. As pastor I chair the nominations committee so I attend those. The rest I fit in as the schedule allows. Right now, with everything new, I attend everything. That won’t always be possible so just realize that I may not be there every time there is a meeting. If you need information from me, contact me in advance so I can be ready with the information you need.
I expect to visit in people’s homes, but I do not visit without calling first. I focus on those who are housebound, in special need due to mourning or illness and who live in assisted living or nursing home facilities. However, I would love to visit everyone who would like me to come. Please contact me and set up a day and time that will work. We can meet anywhere you like: church, work, home, restaurant or coffee shop. I want to get to know you and build relationships with you. I need your help to make that happen.
I expect that I will sometimes disappoint. It’s okay to feel that way. However, please be courteous enough to let me know. I cannot change or make amends if I do not know there is an issue. This is one time that getting word to me through others can cause more misunderstanding so do your best to contact me as directly as possible so we can work things out together. I hope this doesn’t happen often, but we are all human together. Mistakes occur and things are done that unintentionally make someone feel left out or forgotten. Please be patient and practice forgiveness, but also do not let hurt fester. Let’s work on it together so we are stronger than ever.
I love doing God’s work and am thankful that has brought me to Fairbury. May we all be open to what the Spirit is calling us to do right here, right now.
Blessings, Pastor Ann