A year ago this month, I completed the purchase of my flat.
I got the card above in the post the other day.
On the back was a brief handwritten note from my estate agent congratulating me, saying she hoped I’d been happy in my new home, and to let her know if I needed anything.
And of course I was reminded of Ann, a woman from the church where I served as Children’s Worker for seven years, who lovingly wrote anniversary cards to the family of every child we baptised, until she became too frail to keep it up.
There’s something about the personal touch, about a handwritten card dropping through your letterbox, that makes us feel like someone’s gone the extra mile to care for us – whether that’s simply good customer service, like in an estate agency, or in the broader and more holistic relationship of pastoral care that churches provide.
So if you have an aging congregation, you don’t necessarily need to train them on Mailchimp and social media (though some of them may be more familiar with it than you are – you never know) – don’t forget that a simple handwritten card saying “we remember this important occasion in your life. We shared it with you. We’re here for you” can make a real difference.
A few tips on making the most of it:
- To make it easier, set up a system whereby as soon as a baptism happens, the date goes on a list, broken down by month. That way, the person writing these cards isn’t chasing down 35 separate pieces of paper every few weeks to try and get it done.
- Have a basic “suggested wording” (I’ve written one below), but feel free to add special details or memories.
- Remind them of what you have to offer them now
- Make sure the person/people writing the cards know who to notify when stocks are low! (A quick Google for “baptism anniversary cards” turns up lots of possibilities for you to choose.)
One possible wording:
Dear Alan and Sarah,
All of us at St Martin’s send you our love on the anniversary of Jonah’s christening. We hope you have fond memories of this special day. We are praying for you, and Jonah, and Jonah’s godparents, as you all continue to journey together and grow with God.
We promised on that day to be your church family and support you as you raised Jonah to know and love God. We are always pleased to see you at worship on Sunday at 10 am or at our Messy Church on the first Saturday of the month at 3 pm.
May God be with you and Jonah on this special day.
Revd Jane and everyone at St Martin’s