Pastor Appreciation Month
This past weekend during Thanksgiving we had the opportunity to reflect on those things that we have to be grateful for. And as Canadians, and more specifically as residents of southeastern Manitoba, the list of what we have to be thankful for is a long one.
The area that we live in is one of the best in all of Canada, which itself is one of the best countries in the world to live. While it’s true that other Canadians might note our cold winters in southern Manitoba the evidence of how desirable our communities are to live in is demonstrated by the incredible growth they are experiencing. New Canadians and long-time residents are quick to point to the relative safety of our communities, quality schools and strong local economy as some of the reasons they call southeastern Manitoba home.
It is also worth noting, and not coincidentally, that October is also Pastor Appreciation Month. It is a special month set aside to recognize the unique contribution that the leaders of our faith community make to their congregations and to the community as a whole. Leaders of our faith community and their families hold a special place in their hometowns and face unique pressures as a result of leading a very public life. And while October provides them with specific recognition it is also, by extension, a time to recognize the contribution that the faith community as a whole makes to the quality of life of residents of the region in which they are located.
In the past I’ve tried to find statistics to quantify in dollar terms the financial benefit that the faith community makes to the country or a region. It is difficult to find reliable figures likely because it really is invaluable. For example, the space given for this article would not be enough to list the many things that our local churches are involved with. But the list would include providing food and clothing to those in need; helping clean up the community every spring; personal counseling; drug counseling and providing housing just to name a few.
It truly is impossible to put a dollar figure on both the tangible benefit and the intangible benefit of these activities. But it is clear that if our churches were not involved in these activities it would cost government and therefore taxpayers, an incredible amount to fill the gap.
The contribution made by the faith community in the southeast is a major factor in the success of the communities and one of the reasons it is a desirable place to live. All the more reason during October, Pastor Appreciation Month, to offer thanks for the incredible contribution they make to our region and our country.