Tuesday, June 23, 2015

What Would We Do Without Them? No, Really!!

At Trinity, we have the most amazing ministry (we actually have a lot of amazing things but this one affects my job a lot!!)  We have a group that we lovingly call, "The Joseph Ministers."  I went to Wikipedia for a short description so you  might understand.

"According to Mark 15:43, he was an "honorable counselor (bouleutēs), meaning a member of the Jewish Sanhedrin, who was waiting for the kingdom of God". Matthew 27:57 described this Joseph as a rich man and disciple of Jesus. According to John 19:38, upon hearing of Jesus' death, this secret disciple of Jesus, "went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus". Pilate, after a centurion confirmed the death, allowed Joseph's request. Joseph immediately purchased fine linen (Mark 15:46) and proceeded to Golgotha to take the body of Jesus down from the cross. There, according to John 19:39, Joseph and Nicodemus took the body, wrapped it in the fine linen, and applied the myrrh and aloes Nicodemus had brought. The disciples then conveyed the prepared corpse to the place previously bought for Joseph's own tomb, a man-made cave hewn from rock in a garden of his house nearby. This was done speedily, "for the Sabbath was drawing on". Luke 23:50–56 also mentions the event."

There are about 15 folks in this group and when a church member dies, an email is sent to Ann, the head of the group.  You need to know that all of these folks have a servant's heart -- they do this -- not because they are getting paid - they don't get paid!  They do this because they love God, they love His church, and they want to serve where they are gifted.

This group has worked faithfully over the past 12 months (since I've been in the new job role -- Mary, my predecessor created this group).  We have had so many deaths this year.  In a church the size of ours, there can definitely be a lot of deaths in one year.  This group arrives at the church before the family.  They put out Kleenexes and make sure there is water and/or coffee for the family.  They put out the funeral paraments.  They "host" as guests arrive for the visitation.  They do WHATEVER is needed for each funeral/memorial service. They do it all - in soft soothing voices - with smiles on their faces - with no complaints.  They are an amazing group of folks!!  They even have plans to expand and they are trying to recruit some volunteer pall bearers.  DID YOU KNOW that if you are and older person and you don't have friends or family who can be pall bearers, you can RENT pall bearers?  I want you to know that I just googled "rent pall bearers" in every way that I could rephrase it and I can't find anything on line but I KNOW that the funeral home will help you rent some - I think it is $50 per person.  If our Joseph Ministers could include pall bearers, it would help a lot of folks.

A couple of months ago, after our umpteenth funeral, I asked the ministers if we could host a lunch for these wonderful folks.  The preachers readily agreed and so the process began.  We picked a date, put it on the calendars of all the ministers, mailed an invitation to each Joseph minister, booked a caterer, made some decorations and gathered some favors (Mark even helped with the favors!!).

Thank you banner (I've been a banner making machine over the last few months).

The favors were boxes of tea bags with a star tag - on the tag were these words, "You are TEArrific."  We also had mugs (to be used for tea later) filled with a bright and colorful bedding plants (Mark helped cram those plants into the cups!)

I bought the mugs at the dollar tree and it was graduation week and the colors for the local highschool are black and ORANGE so I was able to pick up 12 of those cute star balloons on sticks. I love that stiff floral type ribbon for this kind of project.  I think I found it at Walmart and it just ties up into such a nice bow.

We ordered the food from Char House Catering and it was quite yummy and very reasonable.  I would highly recommend them.  There was only one problem with the order - I had ordered coconut pie and some other pie and they sent carrot cake instead.  I imagine someone else was enjoying our pies as we enjoyed the cake.

I failed to take pictures of the actual PEOPLE!!  I put my phone up when I went into "hostess" mode.  I've asked one of the ladies who was there to share some with me.  If and when she does, I'll add them.  These folks are precious Christians . . .and they are living their faith and helping others when they are walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  Pretty cool ministry!  Pretty cool folks! 

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