All first-call pastors should be fortunate enough to inherit a helpful member like Virginia Crawford. I was called to a mission congregation where Virginia was the chair of the Education Committee and willing to competently help in any area she was needed.
Now it has been over 40 years since I was a first call pastor, but I used something last week that Virginia taught me. At our mission church, they had started a day camp instead of a Vacation Bible School. The camp went from Wednesday to Wednesday with Saturday and Sunday off. On that Saturday morning after the first three days of the day camp, our doorbell rang and I went to the door. Virginia’s daughter, Kathy, was there with two long stem carnations–one for me and one for my wife–and a thank you note for helping the first three days. I went out with Kathy to the car to thank Virginia and I remember her laughing and saying, “I am trying to encourage all our teachers to come back next week.”
Last Friday when we finished the day camp at the congregation where I am interim, I stopped by the grocery store on the way to the church to pick up flowers. The store had a special on long stem red roses so I purchased enough for the staff. When I gave them out as I thanked everyone, I thought of Virginia.
The staff kept telling me how thoughtful I was so I shared the story of Virginia and how she encouraged the day camp teachers to return on Monday. I told them the flower was their encouragement to come back next year.
Thanks, Virginia, for teaching me a great lesson about gratitude. Almost 43 years later, it’s still a wonderful way to express thanks.