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February 2017

Vocational calling is an interesting concept. The root of the word “vocation” is Latin for “voice”.  When a person hears a voice calling them to devote at least part of his or her life to some kind of work, it makes a difference in the energy they put into the work and in the quality of the product.  Some people feel a call to a particular career, but when you look at the person’s given talents, you have to wonder.  One of my seminary professors told of a student who was working on his family farm, when he saw in the sky the letters, “PTF”.  He knew instantly what it meant: “Preach the faith”, and so he was preparing for the ministry in spite of his difficulty in public speaking and having a very introverted personality.  The professor advised him that perhaps the letters meant, “Plow the Field.”  The student considered this possibility and returned to the family farm to become a happy and successful farmer.     I personally believe that God calls all of us to particular tasks at various times of our lives: sometimes to be a pastor, sometimes a mother or a father, a plumber, a politician, or a secretary.  Working with people who “have a calling” for what they are doing is a real joy, because they are usually happy in their work, they do a good job, and they work well with others.  The Northern Lights secretary, Jennifer Flynn, is such a person.  In my fifty plus years working in various fields, I have had many secretaries or administrative assistants.  Jennifer Flynn is one of the best with whom I have had the pleasure of working. She has stellar clerical skills, good communication and people skills.  She speaks her mind with kindness, and is clear about her boundaries.  She not only does well what is expected, but she excels at things she wouldn’t have to do.  The Northern Lights news letter is a splendid example of this.  I also have seen her work with some difficult people showing great diplomacy and maintaining her own integrity.  She has done all this for a wage less than she deserves without complaint.   Unfortunately I am spurred to write this encomium because she is leaving us for a full time position that pays better and has medical benefits.  For a long time, she worked at the Aitkin church as well as Northern Lights.  But Aitkin cut back on secretarial staff and she lost that part of her jobs. She has been a joy and has “saved my bacon many times”; I will miss her.  Fortunately, she has agreed to continue as the Treasurer for the Northern Lights Parish and take notes at our board meetings.   I’m sure we all wish her God speed in her next calling.