When Clergy Appreciation Day began in October of 1993,
the idea was to honor and celebrate the selfless ministry
of the nations clergy. Statistics show the clergy in
the United States could use some appreciation. The nature
of their work leaves many ministers feeling isolated, lonely,
insecure, and inadequate. They deal, sometimes daily, with
life crisis that would leave the average person drained, fatigued,
and questioning. With no close friends to confide in, they
live both their public and private lives in the fish bowl
of their church and community.
Many ministers toil compassionately week after week
with rarely a thank you, a pat on the back, or
words of encouragement, says Jim Hauskey of DaySpring Cards,
one of several groups encouraging congregations nationwide
to observe the second Sunday of October as Clergy Appreciation Day.
Pastors give comfort in crises and spiritual support when
it is needed the most, yet nationwide surveys show:
90% felt inadequately trained to cope with job demands
70% had a lower self image than when they started in
50% had considered leaving the ministry within the
past three monthes
70% had no one they considered to be a close friend
According to a Barna Research Report, Nineties
religious leaders have become increasingly overworked and
Most of us appreciate our pastors, but we tend to take
them for granted. Having a national Clergy Appreciation Day
reminds us to express our feelings, to act on our gratitude, Hauskey
says. Our clergy truly are a national treasure.
This official Day gives us a chance to follow Pauls
instructions in 1 Thessalonians 5:12 and 13 We
ask you to honor those who work so hard for you... Overwhelm
them with appreciation and love!
40 states have proclaimed Clergy Appreciation Day as an official
day. This year DaySpring would like to see it observed in
all 50 states and proclaimed by President Clinton as a national
observance. We have Secretarys Day and National
Firefighters Day Hauskey says, why not have
a National Clergy Appreciation Day?
A groundswell of public support is needed to turn Clergy
Appreciation Day into a national event. Jerry Frear, of Under
His Wings Ministries in Pennsylvania, says more than 5,000
letters were sent to the president two years ago asking him
to proclaim the day. Several U.S. senators have petitioned
Clinton on the subject. DaySpring, Under His Wing Ministries,
Focus on the Family, and several other groups promoting Clergy
Appreciation are asking people to write letters to the president
and to urge their senators to sign the petition. Frear says
it took this kind of effort to get the National Day of Prayer
on the calendar.
Regardless of the national status, several events are planned
nationwide to encourage congregations to do something special
for their ministers on the second Sunday in October. Everything from radio contests
to luncheon tours to concert tours will put a spotlight on
the sacrificial service of the nations clergy. DaySpring
has well over 100 cards available in its Clergy Appreciation Day card
line, available at Christian bookstores nationwide.
DaySpring also offers the best selection of Clergy Appreciation
electronic greeting cards, or e-Cards,
on the web.
But the most important observances will be in the churches, Hauskey
says. It is that one-on-one sharing that reminds
the minister and his family that they are truly loved and
appreciated. And in their individual and joint expressions
of gratitude, the members of the church may just be reminded
of the blessings they have as a congregation.
For more information about Clergy Appreciation, see Groundhog Day inspires special month to honor clergy. Also check out Holidays and Celebrations