For the uninformed or the forgetful, October is Pastor Appreciation Month. Every October, mainly through the medium of radio and print, Christians are encouraged to let their pastor know that their service to the church and the community are appreciated. Everyone from time to time needs an “attaboy” or an “attagirl,” even if they are compensated for their service. Some folks hand their pastor a card of thanks with a monetary insert. Others take their pastor and their spouse out to a nice restaurant. Whatever the size of the gesture is, it’s the act of honor that really blesses a pastor’s heart.
This coming weekend, there are two congregations in our community who will be celebrating landmark moments: Prairie Lake Evangelical Covenant Church (located five miles west of town on CTH D) and Advent Christian Church (located on Second Street). The Prairie Lake folks will be celebrating the installation of their new pastor, Scott Christiansen. Scott and his wife, Cathy, have been serving in an interim capacity for the last year, but recently the congregation voted to change his status to “permanent.” Meanwhile, Advent Christian will be recognizing and honoring Pastor Norm Phillips, who is celebrating 50 years of pastoral ministry. Midway through his 80th decade of life, Norm has pastored several congregations over a half-century of ministry. This is his second stint serving as pastor of the Chetek fellowship, the first being back in the ‘70s and early ‘80s. The second chapter of his Chetek posting began in 1997.
Fifty years in pastoral service is a remarkable achievement. In my mind, Norm defines what a pastor is really all about. There will be an open house at Advent this Sunday from 2–5 p.m. We are all welcomed to stop in and share a “hail fellow well met.” As mayor of Chetek, I am declaring Sunday, Oct. 27, to be Pastor Norm Appreciation Day. If you feel inclined to share a little tangible expression of love, I’m sure that would be fine, but the real way to share your gratitude is to walk around your neighborhood, as Norm is wont to do, and say a prayer for each and every household that you pass. He’s been doing that for years. Who knows what effect his prayers have had?