One of the podcasts that I Iisten to, Hidden Brains, ends each show with a nod to unsung heroes, typically staff members or volunteers who have gone above and beyond to make that particular episode even better than it might have been.
Earlier this year, they created a separate podcast feed and invited listeners to record their encounters with unsung heroes. Sometimes they are stories about a teacher who made a positive and long-lasting impact. Sometimes the unsung hero is a mystery. It might have been someone who stopped on the roadway to help change a tire. It might have been a volunteer at a food pantry. It might have been someone who benefitted from a pay-it-forward situation.
Let us remember the unsung heroes that we encounter each day at St. Stephen's.
Kanchalee Reeves. She sacrifices precious office time to assist in the pantry: working with clients, helping load food into cars, and simply being the human face of St. Stephen's. Thank you.
Food pantry volunteers. They faithfully show up on their assigned dates, greet the clients who are already waiting, and then spend the next three hours assisting clients, packing bags, and loading cars. Others unload pallets of food and restock the shelves. Thank you.
Food pantry donors. COVID took our food pantry outside. Neighbors who were taking walks around the block at odd times of the day saw the activities of the food pantry for the first time. They have overwhelmed our pantry with food donations, diaper donations, personal need donations, and monetary donations. They have spread the word to their friends, who have joined in the giving. Acme and Sprouts donate breads, cakes, sandwiches, and other food donations. Individuals and the Shepherd's Garden program of The Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd have donated tons of fresh produce. Thank you.
Armand and Tony. If you have met Armand over the years, you have seen how he has grown. The young man who shied away from physical contact now gladly high-fives everyone he meets. He knows what work he needs to do as our assistant sexton and does it. He (and Tony) takes out trash and recycling, moves furniture for us, and comes in on Saturdays and late in the evening to make sure things are where they need to be for Sunday mornings. Thank you.
Bonnie. Bonnie is our sexton. She disinfects our sanctuary and gathering area. She comes in on holidays and evenings to make sure things are ready for Sunday. The church building as a whole has rarely been this clean! Thank you.
Council members. These are your representatives. Technically, they meet once a month, but there are plenty of emails and occasional special meetings to conduct the church's business. Council members working together in the best interest of St. Stephen's have been especially critical this fall as we have dealt with Pastor Jason leaving, supply pastors, and a new interim. Thank you.
Service assistants. Assisting ministers, altar guild, ushers, computer operators all work to make Sunday morning worship work.
Pastor Mark. Council did not anticipate having an interim until early 2022. Pastor Mark graciously came on board at the beginning of November, bringing a sense of stability to the congregation, especially as we head into the holidays. Thank you.
Oksana Glouchko. As our music director, Oksana spends time each week preparing beautiful prelude and postlude music. And she spends time working with Teddy Austin on special offering music. We are enjoying the opportunity to sing again under Oksana's musical leadership. Thank you.
Teddy Austin. Teddy has been providing special music for us on most Sunday mornings. He prepares music for us, in addition to completing his University of Delaware obligations. Thank you.
Mike Lehm. Mike takes time each week to count donations, enter information into the computer system, and deposit the money in the bank. Thank you.
And you. You are our faithful. You come to church on Sunday mornings, either in-person or online. You have faithfully continued to support the church financially. You have faithfully supported the church in your service: as service assistants, altar guild, and through donations for backpacks, Thanksgiving baskets, and Christmas gifts. Your gifts, your time, and most especially your faith have kept St. Stephen's alive during challenging times. Thank you.
This is not a complete list of the unsung heroes who touch St. Stephen's. But it demonstrates that the work of the church is not a one-person operation.
You know the unsung heroes in your lives. Consider a note or a conversation where you simply say thank you for the unrecognized work they do.