By Ellen Schrader
Administrative Assistant and Outreach Coordinator
When Carlton asked me to ‘stop by’ his office last week after I finished my work with the Monday Morning Group (the folks who process the offerings from the weekend), my first thought was…rats! I’m in trouble again! Imagine my surprise when he invited me to consider following in Erika’s and Charissa’s fine footsteps to become the administrative assistant and outreach coordinator for the parish – starting the following Monday. To be honest, it was a little overwhelming and I needed time to process and pray. As a result I’m very honored and grateful to serve the parish in this way.
Many of you know me, but for those who don’t, my professional background is in nursing and health care administration. My experience at Grace over the last twenty years includes serving in a variety of ministries (not all at once), including choir, Daughters of the King , altar guild, cookie sale committee, vestry (junior warden), diocesan convention delegate, finance committee (10 years), stewardship, rector search committee, office volunteer, worship planning, Grace Harmony, youth group leader, Friday lunch (yes! I know how to run the big dishwasher!), pantry, hospital visitor, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Eucharistic Visitor, prayers of the people composer, and two stints filling in for Erika in the office (a maternity leave and an extended vacation). I’m also a spiritual director. By serving in these ministries, I’ve received a very good education in what it takes to operate a worshipping community of our size and scope, as well as growing and deepening my relationship with God. I’m so grateful for all of it!
Today (the day I’m writing this article) is my second day on the job, and I have spoken with lots of people on the phone, answered tons of emails, received the Staples office supplies I ordered yesterday (including an in-box for my desk), greeted several parishioners who stopped by for various help and appointments, helped three people who walked into the office seeking help with (1) a gas card (no, and it was hard to say it), (2) durable medical equipment (referred to LOVE, INC) and (3) finding missing boots (stolen and we have the video as proof!), and worked on updating our vestry roster for their retreat this weekend.
Then it was lunchtime. In the afternoon, Donna Olendorf and I attended a webinar on our email blast software, I signed out keys to altar guild members, started researching a request on burial details from 1988, and on it went. You get the picture – it is a busy office with lots of interruptions, but the overarching atmosphere is one of love. God’s love permeates this place and those who walk through the door are greeted, listened to and, for the most part I hope, helped in some way. I have the good fortune of becoming part of a stellar team that includes Carlton, Ann Hackett, Kathy Will and Donna Olendorf on a daily basis. It’s heaven to me – a chance to work for the place I love and to help others. What could be better? ! Thank you for this incredible opportunity!