May 2, 2019

The Office… Coordinated: and More


It was way, way back in the 80’s when I first met her… I was our newly minted minister of discipleship, and I was getting a tour of the building (there was much less of it then), from Chuck Denison, our senior pastor & soon to be one of my dearest friends and greatest mentors.


The tour reached the (old) office room.   Standing in the middle of the room, hands on her hips, was a dark-haired lady - with an even darker expression on her face.


The steady and unhappy gaze was focused on Chuck.  “Chuck, where is your material for the bulletin?”  As I would soon discover, bulletin material is due at First Pres by 9 am Friday: at the latest… As I recall, that day the time was pushing something like 4pm.


“Um… I’ve got it right here”, Chuck muttered sheepishly… “Oh!”, he said, brightening somewhat.  “This is Jim Tilley, our new associate pastor.  Jim…”


“This is Deb Drew…”


“Nice to meet you, Deb.”   And rest assured, inwardly I was already taking notes.


So the first thing I learned about Deb was one of the best things about our amazingly gifted Office Coordinator: she is indeed one of the most well-organized and reliable people I’ve ever known.  That would be why she gets such a vast amount done in a week: and why those excellent deadlines exist.


Deb and I were each barely out of our twenties when we started in ministry here at First Pres, and so we’ve literally spent our entire careers together.   Through those years we’ve also shared in the life of this great Body of Christ together, and a great friendship has been forged… Fielding together the joys, tragedies, hurts, laughter and tears of this fellowship, as we’ve coordinated funerals, weddings, and events without number in our midst, over three decades worth…


What a blessing my friend has been to this congregation… and to me.  I guarantee I cannot count the number of times Deb has noted for us, way ahead of time, church events that were going to collide on the schedule - and she got us coordinated indeed.  She should have been called “church coordinator”!  Indeed, if she was on the Titanic, I’m totally confident it would have never hit the iceberg.


Deb has been far more than a “paper and calendar” person.  She has known — and loved — the history and people of our church very well.  Her care, background, and well-honed common sense have given the staff tons of wisdom and discernment in helping with what programs to create, what pitfalls to avoid, and what preparations might need to be made (and publicized) — and when — in order for a program or event to come off successfully.


Deb played an invaluable role during transitions between senior pastors (Doug is the fifth one (counting interims) we’ve served with as team).  She’s always been so helpful in helping pastors “learn the ropes” of First Pres’ uniquenesses — so that we haven’t had to trip on those strings!


Deb fields so much around here!  I remember being in a gathering of pastors a long time ago, and noticing a good friend of mind feverishly working away at something on his laptop.  I looked at his screen, and he was desperately trying to get various graphics to work right.  “What are you doing, buddy?”, I asked.  “Uh, I’m working on our church newsletter, and it’s not coming together so well.  And whenever I get that done, I’ve got to arrange and sort out the bulletin.”   “Aaaaahhhh”, I sighed.   Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Jesus for Deb Drew…


And Thank You indeed, Lord.  For 32 years of not only sharp-looking bulletins and newsletters…. but a church served so well by a friend who has not only coordinated us, but loved us… so well.


Happy Well-Earned retirement, dear friend!  You’re a treasure!


All my love in Christ, Jim



1100 Calvin Road Rochelle, IL 61068 815.562.7053

Sunday Schedule

9 a.m. Traditional Worship 10 a.m. Fellowship Hour 10 a.m. Sunday School 11 a.m. Contemporary Worship

Office Hours

Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.