Easter at the Pastors’ House

Easter at the pastors’ house—oh, how complicated it can be!

My husband and I were married six days before we moved to the seminary campus to start our studies. Our two children were born while we were co-pastors. One was born while we served two very small rural churches in West Central Illinois. The other was born while we were co-associate pastors in Champaign, Illinois.

The Easter Bunny never came for them on Easter Sunday morning. Who had time?! They were pre-schoolers and elementary students while we lived in a small town in Iowa. My husband was the pastor there and I served five different churches as interim or supply while we were there. That meant that he had a busy Easter Sunday and I had a drive of at least 30 minutes to get to where I was going. So I would have him take the girls out into the yard; I would hide the goodies in the house; and then I would go to the door and tell them the Easter Bunny had been there! I was so glad when our youngest finally figured out who the bunny was. I remember saying to her “And who else comes in the middle of the night and delivers things? Yes, Daddy and I are also Santa Claus and the tooth fairy!” (Because Christmas in the pastors’ house is equally challenging.)

When we moved from that small town, we became co-pastors again in a larger church. We ended up for several years having three worship services on Easter Sunday morning. The sunrise service (that church has a gorgeous Easter window that faces East) was at actual sunrise, so often around 6 a.m.; then an 8 a.m. service; Easter breakfast; and the big service at 10 a.m. This, of course, followed a week that started with a “Donkey Walk” through town and two worship services on Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday worship and meal, and a Good Friday service. One year we even had three funerals during Holy Week just to keep it interesting. Of course our girls were also busy junior and senior high students during this time. We were lucky to eat anything that week, let alone a nice Easter dinner!

There was a very kind family in that church who realized the kind of schedule we had. They fixed an entire meal for us to have late in Holy Week and did it for several years. They just brought the food to our house and told us to get the dishes back to them whenever we could. It was wonderful to have this food so that whenever we passed through the house there was something to eat. It was also so thoughtful of them to realize what it can be like in the pastors’ house during Holy Week.

How might you ease the burden on your pastor this upcoming Holy Week? What might you pick up to do at church to relieve the pastor of something that they usually handle? Is there a way that you might provide a little respite for them at home? Maybe walk the dog; fix a meal; give the children a ride to school events that do not take Holy Week into account?

Even if none of those work for you and your pastor, here is something you can do. Once worship is done on Easter Sunday do not, under any but the most dire circumstances, contact your pastor before noon on Tuesday!!

Susan D. Krummel (Sue)
Executive Presbyter
Presbytery of Chicago