Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When Tragedy Strikes a Congregation

A tragedy has struck a family in my beloved "First Congregational Church of the Bereans". My wife and I are new to the church and the family that tragedy has struck isn't highly active in the church   so we didn't get to know them well, still it hurts to see them in such pain and in such a state of helplessness. 

The "First Congregational Church of the Bereans" is a small congregation, just a handful over one hundred souls, just the way I like it - a family where you know everyone and the pastor can give every member the individual attention they want (and in worst case - the attention they need)

The tragedy, which I will not describe for the privacy of those affected, just happened recently and the First Congregational Church of the Bereans is still mobilizing. I'm sure that the women of the church are already doing everything they can for the family, when I get home from work later this afternoon I'm sure my dear wife will have more information on the church's response and I'll gladly pitch in where ever I can. Unfortunately before my darling left for women's bible study last night one of the last details that she left me was that Mrs. Pastor was in tears the entire day.

The news of Mrs. Pastor's tears actually came somewhat as a shock to me. Mrs. Pastor is a strong, rock steady, no-nonsense lady and I affectionately picture her as a modern day Margaret DuMont played against Mr. Pastor's high energy, out spoken persona. She even has Margaret's wonderful ringing laugh. I really really like Mrs. Pastor for her strength and her organizational skills and picturing her in tears isn't something I ever expected and my heart breaks for her just as much as the effected family.

When a tragedy hits a congregation and we're looking to our leadership for... well, for leadership, we often forget that our pastors, ministers, deacons, and elders are members of our family too, and they are hit as hard if not harder than we are. Often times our pastors and ministers have been attending to the sick for long periods of time and develop a special relationship with them, and when they pass on to be with Jesus our pastors are reminded by God in the worst way possible that they are human too - through the pain of loss of that loved one. 

Sometimes these losses can so shake the faith of a Pastor that they actually leave the ministry. My sister-in-law was a quadriplegic for many years, it's not easy being bed-ridden watching your body slowly waste away in spite of the efforts of your doctors, nurses and family. The local Lutheran minister worked so hard caring for her spiritual health, but when she finally gave up the fight and passed on to Jesus, he was shattered. He was hurt so bad he quit the church rather than have to bury another close friend. Years before an old childhood schoolmate of mine left the priesthood for similar reasons. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not uncommon among the clergy.

In my mind this will be more painful for a Pastor in a smaller, close knit congregation. In large and mega congregations I really don't know if the Pastor ever learns his flocks names, I may be wrong, but my interaction with large churches was pretty impersonal compared to a small church. In a small church it's family. The First Congregational Church of the Bereans has been around for nearly a century in a small town with large families. Mr. & Mrs. Pastor are new to the congregation having just celebrated their first anniversary here, but the First Bereans has opened their hearts and homes to Mr. & Mrs. Pastor taking them into the family. I know this is hard for them. 

So, fellow Christians, when tragedy strikes your congregation keep in mind that your Pastor is putting up a strong front because that's his job, but may be emotionally shattered inside. Say a special prayer for him

No comments:

Post a Comment