I was doing a little research last night about Pastor Appreciation Month. It turns out this unofficial holiday is better known as “Clergy Appreciation Day” or “Clergy Appreciation Month.”
No Wikipedia page = more work.
I found some clues on the Hallmark website. Notably the holiday only dates back to 1992 and is always celebrated on the second Sunday in October. They first sold cards for pastor’s appreciation in 2002.
I found another helpful post on Leading from the Heart, a UMC blog written by Rev. Laurie Haller. She had this blockquote from the Sept./Oct. 1996 issue of the Saturday Evening Post related the origins of Clergy Appreciation Day.
“In 1992, layperson Jerry Frear, Jr., was brainstorming with church colleagues about how they might be of help to their minister when he glanced at a calendar and noticed that it was almost Groundhog Day. ‘I thought, if they have a day for groundhogs, there ought to be a day for the 375,000 clergy people in America.’ Frear says. So…for the last seven years the second Sunday in October has been set aside to show appreciation for our clergy.”
From there I verified this information on the Christian Standard website.
Now the weird part: This same Jerry Frear, Jr. went to prison for defrauding investors in his dot-com startup. Now he writes and trains churches on becoming missional. You can read about that here. You can also find him on Linkedin and on blogger.
The best part is from his bio on his blogger.
I’ve served as a pastor for 13 years. 15 years ago my wife and I co-founded Clergy Appreciation Day. We have served pastors and churches with help for their ministries for over 16 years and have helped or impacted over 5,000 pastors and churches. It’s my deepest desire to be part of movement that helps the church become the kingdom builder it needs to be. I love to speak, teach and train on the future church and missional ministry.
The point of this post is not to judge anyone’s relationship with Christ because their sins became public. (Rom 3:23 says we all suck.) I’m just wondering how you make sense of all this?