A Celebration of Gifts: In Honor of Clergy Appreciation Month

posted on October 05

A Celebration of Gifts:
In Honor of Clergy Appreciation Month
There are different spiritual gifts but the same Spirit,
and there are different ministries and the Same Lord;
and there are different activities but the same God
who produces all of them in everyone.

    -1 Corinthians 12:4-6, CEB
Those who are taking time during Clergy Appreciation Month to share the names of clergy who have inspired them have indeed inspired me. In keeping with this good idea, here are the names of A FEW OF THE clergy who have made a difference in my life. It is in no way an exhaustive list! I frankly could go on for days, sharing not only the names of clergy but how God’s timing in bringing them into my life has made me who I am. I will leave hundreds out, but hopefully in taking note of these few, you can see a variety of gifts all given generously by the same God!
I’ll share one for each day of October, in no particular order. Some are still with us, and others have moved on the Church Triumphant:

  • Jimmy Grant – who showed me that kindness and graciousness are signs of Christian faith
  • Doug Butler – who taught me that the truth will set me free
  • Jeff Coppley – who believed I would be a good leader in the church and still believes that is true
  • Jim Bortell – who thought I would make a good seminarian and student pastor
  • Grant Sharp – first Senior Pastor, constant cheerleader, benefactor of benedictions
  • Nancy Rankin – who believed that I had something to contribute to the UMC 
  • Denny White – who taught me that where there is a will, there is a way
  • Bishop Ken Carter – who shepherded Jeff through RIOM and became a part of our story
  • Rob Rollins – who walked me through seasonal worship planning in the UMC
  • Abe Cox – who lived until he died, and taught us all to do the same
  • Jan Brittain – who showed me that supervision is a discipline and calling
  • Paul Craig – who taught me how to conceal a laugh during worship
  • George Thompson – who was always thinking of what was next, in a good way
  • Mark King – who rejoiced (and still rejoices) in my frugality  
  • Billy Rintz – compassionate RIOM leader
  • Bishop Ray Chamberlain – who taught me to rescue the perishing and enjoy the children
  • Amy Coles – Pillar of wisdom and strength
  • Alexis Anthony – who taught me that smiling is powerful and contagious
  • David Hockett – who is my brother in the Gospel
  • Andrea Smith – the perfect roommate at the LEAD Academy
  • Elizabeth Coppedge-Henley – the perfect roommate at the Board of Ordained Ministry 
  • Glenn Kinken – encourager extraordinaire
  • Gloria Hughes – Disciple-maker and purveyor of joy
  • Sylvia Wilhelm – Zen Master of listening
  • Karen Miller – who teaches the nuts and bolts of the good life
  • Val Rosenquist – courageous sister
  • Linda Kelly – exemplar and practitioner 
  • George Coates – who believes in, teaches, and embodies the power of prayer
  • Bishop Paul Leeland – who emphasized being clear, compassionate, and early
  • Laura Auten – wise ministry sister
  • Kim Ingram – you just feel better after being near her

I have purposefully not mentioned any clergy who are currently serving in the Northern Piedmont District, but I will not neglect to mention how much each of you inspire me. I am inspired EVERY DAY by your resilience, the way you put your faith into practice in your own spiritual lives and decisions, your creativity, your stick-to-it-iveness, your love for your families, your daily disciplines, your desire to support each other, your patience, and your life-long learning. From the tip-top northern boundary to the farthest southern charges, from the east to the west, in all settings and at all stages of life, you are amazing and inspiring!
Continue to use your many gifts in the service of our one God. Celebrate others and allow others to celebrate you!
Gratefully Celebrating,
Rev. Bev Coppley
District Superintendent

A Celebration of Gifts In Honor of Clergy Appreciation Month