View from the Front Desk

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, June 24, 2018

By: Elizabeth Baker

I’ve gone to church my whole life. When I was 2 years old, my mom tells me that I stood up after a hymn and yelled “more singing!” I was active in children’s choir, youth group, local missions, and later, international missions. It has always been an important part of my life.

When I was in college, my father began taking classes at seminary in preparation to become a United Methodist minister. Throughout school, and for several years after, he served as an associate pastor and two years ago now, he became the head pastor at a church in Lynchburg.

Between growing up in church, and later, watching my dad serve various congregations, I thought I had a fairly strong understanding of all that church work entails. I thought I knew what I was getting into when I applied for this job, when really I had no idea.

I knew that I would be putting together bulletins each week; I knew that I would be answering the phone and doing various tasks around the office. But nothing could have prepared me for the blessings that I experience each day. I get to chat with the amazing parishioners who walk through the door dropping off donations for various outreach partners; with the fellowship team who lovingly plan each parish supper and reception; with the buildings and grounds committee, who ensures that our gorgeous property remains well-kept. I have the privilege of working with the clergy and pastoral care teams, and watching them work tirelessly to visit, call, and write to those who are mourning, celebrating, or ailing. I see celebrations of life and celebrations of marriage come together in the most beautiful ways, guided by Andrew and Bob. I watch as Amelia and the preschool teachers lovingly care for each and every child they meet; as Ashley and Matt plan outreach projects and missions that engage both youth and adults; as Mike and Deedi process your generous donations; as Ryan painstakingly chooses appropriate, beautiful music for each service; as Paul, Gersain, Chuck, and Duke keep our buildings meticulously clean, and lend a hand wherever needed. I could go on and on. Further, I’m constantly in awe of this staff, and how well everyone works as a team to make certain that no one is overwhelmed, everyone is cared for, and that we make time for fun!

Churches are special places; I’ve always known that. But I had no idea just how special they could be—how much really goes on behind the scenes—until I came to St. Mary’s. And I’ll always be grateful for the grace that I witness every single day.