Lessons from Charlottesville – Part 1
You might remember from my Valentine’s Day blog that I was going to a wedding on that most romantic of days. So, I know you all have been waiting to hear…the wedding was beautiful. Without even consulting me (what?!), Kara and Andrew picked my very favorite hymns for the service, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” “Amazing Grace,” and “How Great Thou Art.”
Thank you Kara and Andrew for a wonderful and fun weekend. God bless your new life together! Everything went off without a hitch…well almost.
My dear sweet daughter and traveling companion, Rachel, did manage to get a very nasty stomach bug (a gastrointestinal event – with an emphasis on “event”) starting at around 2am the morning of the wedding – ending with our making a 3 a.m. visit to the ER. Trying to avoid an ambulance ride, I must say it was not my proudest parental moment to suggest I’d get the luggage cart and push her to the elevator and to the cab (fortunately she made it on her own two feet). By 7 a.m., with a little fluid and a few drugs, we were ready to head back to our hotel room. Sadly, she missed the wedding and the reception. But we did learn a very big lesson in kindness.
We were staying at the Omni, which was a splurge for us. The folks at the front desk were very helpful in gathering some ginger ale and crackers but, at the price of the hotel, I sort of expected it. She was sick and I hoped and anticipated they would be willing to help her out.
But on Sunday, our check-out day, at around 7:30 a.m. a non-standard sized envelope was slipped under our door. Inside the envelope, the hand-written note read:
I hope you are feeling better! I have added a late check out to your account in case you need it for today. If we can send any more ginger ale, please let me know!
Omni Charlottesville Hotel
Suddenly, with that one touch of kindness, I was ready to become an Omni regular for life. It was totally unexpected and an act of caring that was way beyond my expectations. It was just the right thing at the right time.
So, how are you making your church experience one in which people want to return again and again? There are stacks of books written on the topic, but perhaps it’s as simple as “being the church” in the best sense of the word.
- Writing a note when someone is struggling
- Offering a metaphorical ginger ale to someone who is hurting
- Being aware of the simple gesture that, though small, makes a tremendous impact
I wish all our churches were filled with “Matt Earlys.” And, I pledge to be more like him by providing that surprising little touch – reminding people who need it (and sometimes even those who don’t) that someone notices and someone cares.
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. She prays that if she ever has a stomach bug while traveling, it's at the Omni. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.