Paul calls us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thessalonians 5:18). What is your church doing to give thanks to its members?
St. Matthew’s, Kenosha has a tradition of showing gratitude for those who serve in their church by awarding three services awards yearly at their Annual Meeting. Before the annual meeting, Fr. Matthew Buterbaugh typically confers with the senior and junior warden about who the recipients should be.
“Gratitude is not just a private feeling but is also inherently social, connecting us as individuals with others,” according to author Diana Butler Bass. By acknowledging the award winners, St. Matthew’s is able to celebrate the work that people have done, and publicly thank them for their service. Generally, the award recipients are surprised with their awards at the Annual Meeting. This year’s meeting was held on January 20.
Jazmin Mendoza-Anderson, Acolyte Award winner
The Acolyte Award is based on best attendance in the past year. The acolytes give themselves a check every time they come into the sacristy, and whoever gets the most checks by the end of the year gets the award. This year’s winner was Jazmin Mendoza-Anderson. Fellow member Linda Bogdala noted about Jazmin, “She had been the most faithful in attendance and everyone appreciates her dedicated service to St. Matthew’s.”
Jennifer Meyer, Women's Service Cross winner
Jennifer Meyer was awarded the Women’s Service Cross. Jen has shared her musical talents as a member of the choir and as cantor at many services. She has worked diligently on many service and outreach projects. Jen also stepped up to assist in the office, coming in after her full-time job and weekends, after the parish was without an office administrator for several months.
Geoffrey Greeley, Men's Service Cross winner
This year St. Matthew’s awarded the Men’s Service Cross award to Geoffrey Greeley, senior warden. Though usually the award it is a surprise, Fr. Buterbaugh said, “I had to tell him I’d made the decision without him.” In addition to his duties as senior warden, Geoff chaired the Stewardship drive last year. Linda Bogdala said, “Geoff is a licensed lay preacher, sharing his knowledge and love of God’s word with the congregation.” He also shares his musical talents as a member of the choir.
“Gratitude happens when some kindness exceeds expectations,” according to David Brooks in an article written in the New York Times. Thank you to Jazmin, Jen, and Geoff for exceeding expectations at St. Matthew’s.
What are other parishes doing to show gratitude?