By Stephen Harrison:

Today is unofficially ‘International Buy a Priest a Beer Day’. On 9 September annually, people are encouraged to take their priests out for a beer and express their appreciation for all that their priests do for them and their broader communities. While this annual ‘day’ isn’t a formally commemorated day for any Christian denomination, maybe it should be – albeit with additional ginger beer or coffee options.

Priests often take the time to meet with their parishioners, as well as people enquiring about faith and vulnerable community members, over a cuppa or cold drink – with often life-changing outcomes. In his recently published anglican focus reflection ‘My pub call to the priesthood’ The Rev’d Max Lambourne from the Parish of Wilston shared that:

“The call to priesthood came quite out of the blue and at a very unexpected time ­– in the Kings Arms pub, in Cleobury Mortimer of all places. I was chatting with the then curate of my ‘local’ about possibly being more involved in church on a Sunday morning. I was thinking of maybe doing a reading or leading the prayers of intercession, something along those lines, when he suddenly commented that I should consider ordained ministry. Such was my shock at the suggestion, that I forcibly ejected my beer…and apologised to the bar staff before swiftly cleaning up.

As The Rev’d Max goes on to explain:

“It is amazing how God is able to work through the very ordinary, like a pub chat between two mates, to bring about the most extraordinary situations.”

When was the last time you tangibly expressed your appreciation for the way your priest and deacon support you in your faith walk?

Everyone likes to be appreciated for their contributions and hard work. And, our clergy work extremely hard to respond to their individual calls to ordained ministry, fulfilling a huge array of tasks. So, perhaps today, or another time this month, each of us can make contact with our clergy to show our thanks for all that they do. This could be offering to take your priest out for a regular (or ginger) beer or inviting your priest over for a meal with your household members. In this somewhat hectic COVID-19 period and with Advent approaching, your priest may be too busy to meet with you in person for a drink or meal, so some suggested alternative ideas include:

  • Giving your priest and deacon a ‘thank you’ card after a church service.
  • Baking and delivering a cake, scones or biscuits to the parish office.
  • Preparing a healthy meal for your priest to freeze for a busy day ahead.
  • Asking parishioners to contribute an item each to a ‘thank you’ basket and sign an accompanying ‘thank you’ card.
  • Organising a video to be made with parishioners thanking your priest for a specific thing and playing the video at the end of the church service and then uploading the video to YouTube or Facebook.
  • Presenting your priest with a bunch of spring flowers.
  • Praying for your priest and letting your priest know that you are doing so.

The Parishes and other Mission Agencies Commission team would love to hear about how you have thanked your priests and deacons, including regarding any creative ways that you as an individual, or your parish collectively, have thanked your priest. Please drop us a line via email at [email protected] or via ACSQ Facebook with your ideas, photos or videos.

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