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Ten "Commandments" for Writing Better Letters

All Purpose Letter Writing Outline

Tips For Using This Book

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Letters to Members of All Ages

Chapter 2
Letters to Other Members

Chapter 3
Letters to Nonmembers

Chapter 4
Letters to Church Staff

Chapter 5
Letters to the Community

Chapter 6
Letters to the Media

Chapter 7
Letters to Vendors

Chapter 8
Letters for Special Occasions

Chapter 9
Letters of Acceptance, Confirmation, Invitations, & Refusal

Chapter 10
Letters to Raise Funds

Chapter 11
Letters to Colleagues

Chapter 12
Letters of Policy & Doctrine

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Chapter 8 ē Letters for Special Occasions

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Ministers delight in the many special occasions in which they have the privilege to participate. So that these occasions can be truly special, itís necessary to communicate specific information as to times, dates, and procedures, so that participants can be at the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.

Also, there are those occasions calling for a word of encouragement, congratulations, and affirmation Ė where the minister shares in the joy of new parents, a new couple, or a significant anniversary.

Whether addressed to groups, couples, or individuals, a positive and friendly note from a caring and supportive minister is always a genuine blessing.

8-1 / To Couples about Adoption: Placement of Baby through Adoption

While many churches send welcoming letters to new babies, they may not think to include those who are adopted. In this example, the pastor can especially share in the celebrating, since he was involved in counseling the parents as they waited. And since adoption almost always takes a long time, rejoicing is more than appropriate.

It gives me great joy to congratulate you on the arrival of your son, NAME. In the past, you have shared with me your great desire for a child and some of the anguish you have lived through, waiting for an adoption to occur. We have wept together, calling on the Lord to send that special baby just right for you. At last, we can also share in the thrill of seeing our prayers answered.

This precious gift from God will forever change your lives, as a first child always does. Yet you already knew that, Iím sure, and you are more than willing to make the sacrifices involved to bring up NAME in a godly home surrounded by love.

Please be assured that you are in our prayers as you begin your parenting career, and feel free to contact me if I can help you in any way.

8-2 / To Couples about Anniversary: Fifty Years

On your wedding day, MONTH XX, 200X, were you apprehensive about how your life would proceed for the next fifty years? If so, you neednít have worried.

Throughout those years, you have achieved what many admire but few reach Ė a fulfilling, happy, God centered marriage. Not that things have always been easy. Like couples every where, you have certainly had times of pain and sorrow, disagreements and trauma. Yet for you, itís obvious that the good times of laughter and closeness, love and companionship, have far outweighed the dark experiences.

Truly, our heavenly Father must be pleased as you celebrate fifty years together. May He grant you many more. We rejoice with you as you reach this great milestone.

8-3 / To Couples about Baptism: Of Infant

We were pleased to minister the sacrament of infant baptism to your son James last Sun day. While he is too young to remember, you will not forget it. In later years, you can tell him of the promises you made in his behalf, promises to raise him in a Christian home, to demonstrate your own faith in your daily lives, and to lead him in the ways of the Lord. And as the congregation vowed before you, we are willing to help and support you in any way we can.

We welcome little James into the family of God and look forward with you to watching him grow in every way.

8-4 / To Couples about Births: Arrival of First Grandchild

Here is another situation which most churches and synagogues donít think to ac knowledge. Yet, sharing in the joy of a new life is just one more way of saying to a parishioner, ďWe care about you.Ē The letter writer also uses this opportunity to urge the grandparents to do what they can to bring the baby and his parents into the synagogue more frequently.

It was with great joy that I heard the news about arrival of your first grandchild. What a thrill for you both! I am sure you will find being a grandparent is rewarding as well as challenging; you will have many opportunities to share of yourselves with this newest member of your family.

Naturally, one of the most important things you can do is to encourage your grandchild to have a religious life. Your own example is the best place to start. In addition, you can encourage your son and daughter-in-law to be faithful in attending synagogue.

I trust that both mother and baby are doing well, and I look forward to meeting little NAME soon.

8-5 / To Couples about Dedications: Of Infant

Thank you for your willingness to dedicate your daughter NAME this past Sunday. You have made some serious promises to God and the congregation about how you will raise your child. Believe me, those words will be tested in the years to come as you face the many challenges of Christian parenting. But knowing your commitment to Jesus and to each other, I have every confidence that you will not fail NAME.

I appreciate your faithful support of Community Church in your attendance, finances, and service. May our loving Heavenly Father bless you and NAME abundantly.

8-6 / To Couples about Engagements: Upon Announcement

Congratulations on the announcement of your engagement! We rejoice with you in this important step.

As you know, deciding on a marriage partner is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. It is not to be taken lightly, and I am confident that you have both sought the Lord on this matter until you are sure that He has put you together.

Even so, your relationship will not always be easy. But you have the assurance that with each other and with Jesus, you can have the wonderful experience of a great marriage.

You have our prayers as you progress toward the day of your wedding. Treasure the special bond God has given the two of you.

8-7 / To Couples about Retirement: Upon Announcement

A major adjustment for both spouses, retirement can produce a significant amount of stress and depression. In this upbeat letter, the priest points out the good side as well as puts in an appeal for help in the parish, especially important to an individual who needs to feel needed.

Congratulations on NAMEís recent retirement from COMPANY NAME! On behalf of the entire parish, I would like to offer best wishes to you both.

Many new opportunities await you as you enter this new stage of your lives. You will have the freedom to pursue interests, friendships, and travel in ways in which you have not found possible before. My prayer is that the two of you will have many good years together to enjoy life.

I also hope that you will find time to devote yourselves to church work. There are many things you can volunteer to do here in your own parish; please feel free to contact me if you would like to know of some possibilities.

Naturally, some adjustments will have to be made in your daily schedules as you get used to NAMEís being at home. But I am confident that you will both continue to grow in this part of your lives, and that any problems which do develop will be worked out.

Again, warmest wishes for your future.

8-8 / To Couples about Showers: Granting Permission to Hold in Church

Thank you for your recent request to use Fellowship Hall for a wedding shower for NAME and NAME. Although we do not usually have this sort of an affair at the church, I am willing to make an exception in this case. NAME and NAME are both quite active in many different groups within the congregation, therefore making them well known to most of the members. In addition, since you both are willing to take complete responsibility for putting on the shower, cleaning up afterwards, etc., I see no reason why you should not go ahead with your plans. The MONTH XX date is fine; nothing else is scheduled in the building that afternoon between 2:30 and 4:30 PM

I assume that since you are holding the shower at the church, you will be opening it to everyone who wishes to attend. Perhaps a blanket invitation could be put in the church bulletin that week, and another posted in the church office. I hope the shower will prove to be enjoyable to all who come.

8-9 / To Couples about Wedding: Afterwards

At last, the waiting is over and you are husband and wife in the sight of God and everyone else! The church staff joins me in wishing you the very best as you begin this new stage of oneness in Christ.

As Iím sure you realize, marriage wonít always feel as wonderful as it does now. But in spite of the problems which are inevitable, your relationship can continue to grow more and more special each year as you keep Christ in the center.

It was a great blessing for me to officiate at your wedding; the presence of the Lord was very real. Again, our most sincere congratulations. If at any time I can be of personal help to you, feel free to contact me.

8-10 / To Families about Adoption: On Finalization

After a child is placed with a family, there is a waiting period, generally about six months, before the adoption is legal. When that point is reached, itís a day almost as special as when the child moved in. A letter such as this is most appropriate.

Congratulations on the recent finalization of the adoption of your children NAME and NAME. It must be a satisfying feeling to know that the court has now declared them to be your offspring. In the past months in which they have resided with you, there have been many adjustments, both for you and for them. A new home, school, church, and lifestyle take some getting used to. Yet by now, NAME and NAME seem to be beginning to fit into their surroundings.

Iím certain you realize that there will still be problems at times, but no family can avoid the differences that arise in day to day living. With Christ as the center of your household, you will be able to cope.

Again, best wishes from me and the parish. May your family continue to grow in closeness and faith.

8-11 / To Families about Baptism: Adultsí Decision to Undergo

I was pleased to hear of your decision to be baptized at Community Church. From what I under stand, those of you who will be undergoing the sacrament are NAME, NAME, and NAME. At this point, a baptismal service is scheduled for Sunday, MONTH XX at LOCATION, ADDRESS. It will take place at 3:30 PM. Following a brief teaching on the meaning of baptism, those who wish to do so will be baptized by immersion. Please plan on bringing dry clothing and remember to wear something that will not become transparent when wet. Many have come with a swimming suit topped by a large colored T-shirt.

I look forward to your participation in this important step, which is symbolic of the death of the old sinful nature and the beginning of the new life which you have found in Christ. God will bless you as you obey His instructions in the Bible to be baptized. If for any reason one or all of you cannot join us on MONTH XX, let me know and we will work out something else.

8-12 / To Families about Birthdays: Childís First

While a year old child isnít aware of the significance of his/her birthday, the parents consider it to be a milestone. In this letter, the pastor encourages them to make the church one of their childís early memories.

As NAMEís first birthday approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to offer the best wishes of myself and the entire parish. Naturally, she is too young to understand the significance of this special day, but you as her family can rejoice in the good memories of this past first year with her.

It is my hope that as the years pass, you will continue to make the Church an important part of NAMEís life. Though her days are relatively problem-free now, she is bound to face trials and troubles at some point. Thatís why itís so vital to make oneís faith real from a young age; when the difficulties do arise, there is something there to hold things together.

Again, I wish you a pleasant day as NAME celebrates her birthday. May she have many more birthdays to enjoy.

8-13 / To Families about Births

On behalf of the church staff and the congregation at Community Church, I would like to congratulate you on the arrival of your son, NAME. It is an occasion for great joy when the little one finally arrives and both mother and child are doing well.

The newest member of your family will mean some adjustments for all of you, as well as greater responsibilities. But with the help of your loving Heavenly Father Who has given you this precious gift, you will be able to handle it.

Knowing your faithfulness in attending and serving at church, Iím certain that we will meet NAME soon, and that you will make every effort to raise him in a manner which would please God.

In the meantime, you have our prayers and best wishes as you begin the process of helping him grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

8-14 / To Families about Dedications: Of New House

I was pleased to receive your request to perform a home dedication for you. Moving into a new house is always exciting, particularly when you have had it built for you and have watched from the beginning the progression from hole in the ground to completed dwelling.

In such circumstances, I feel it is only appropriate to dedicate the home, and all who re side there, to Godís service. I am more than willing to participate in it. Have you decided upon a specific format? If you are interested, I have some material I have used in the past at which you may look.

In addition, please let me know as soon as possible when you would like to do this, so that I may mark my calendar. I look forward to this special time together.

8-15 / To Families about Graduations: Of High School Member

As graduation approaches, we are certain you share our pride in your child, NAME. Completing high school is a big step and an exciting time of life, as the young person plans for his/her future.

Community Church will be honoring our graduates and their families during morning worship on MONTH XX. Each youth will be presented with a gift from the congregation, and following the ser vice a time of fellowship over coffee, punch, and cookies will be held.

We hope that you and your family will be able to participate. In addition, if you have older children who are graduating from college, please call the church office. We are also interested in honoring them for their achievements.

Again, congratulations to your graduate.

8-16 / To Families about Holidays: Easter

Coming up with something fresh to say about major holidays is an annual head ache for most clergy. Note how this pastor calls upon a personal experience to bring that new element to this Easter letter.

The trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ Ė every Lenten season we attempt to gain new insight from the same familiar story. Yet how often do we succeed in truly feeling the physical and emotional pain that our Lord bore? Does it really penetrate our apathetic hearts just what Easter means?

Last year, I discovered a renewed appreciation of what Jesus passed through so many years ago. It came by way of a television special about Him, one that I had viewed before. While it was good, it had no long term affect. But this time, I watched it with my children, who had been too young in other years to stay up to see it.

These little ones, so used to the fighting and killing on TV shows in which the hero wins, sat teary eyed as they whipped Christ, spat upon Him, and dragged Him to Golgotha. This was different than what they usually watched Ė this actually happened to their precious Savior. Caught up in their reactions, I studied their young faces, so intent on the gruesome scenes before us. As Jesusí body was placed in the tomb, they were the picture of sorrow and confusion.

I told them to keep watching. When the resurrection was shown, their faces immediately transformed into complete joy and relief. ďJesus is all right!Ē one said over and over.

I admit to spending more time intent on my childrenís responses than on the TV show. But what I came away with was a new joy, a new understanding of the reality of the cross and the victory over death that followed.

This Easter, I encourage you to discover anew the Easter story. And once you have, involve your family in helping them to do so too. Read the Scripture accounts after dinner in a version your children can understand. Perhaps act out the story. Decorate your home to celebrate. Mail Easter cards to faraway loved ones. Attend the special services at church.

You can think of other ideas more appropriate for your family. But whatever you do, donít let this Easter pass without getting a firmer grip on what happened over 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem.

May God grant you a truly unique Easter experience this year.

8-17 / To Families about Receptions: Plans to Hold

On Sunday, MONTH XX, Community Church is planning a reception in honor of NAMEís 20 years in the choir. It will be held in Fellowship Hall from 3:00 to 5:00 PM Iím sure it would mean a great deal to him to have present as many members of his family as possible.

We are planning a few words from the choir director and some of the choir members, a presentation of a certificate to him, some music from anthems sung over the years he has been a part of the choir, refreshments, and some special surprises. Iím certain it will prove to be an enjoyable afternoon for all.

We are blessed to have someone like NAME as part of our fellowship. His dedication to choir and the other work of the church has been an example to us all, and we are pleased to be able to do something for him.

I sincerely hope that Ďyou will be able to join us on the XXth.

8-18 / To Families about Thank You: For Altar Flowers

Thank you for the recent gift of altar flowers in gratitude for the successful removal of Marieís brain tumor. We join with you in praising God for His grace in seeing her through the operation, and we continue to pray for her as she goes through the process of recovery.

Your gift was a fitting one; the sanctuary was beautified by the flowers, and as you re quested, they were then taken to the home of a shut in from the church. In this way, they continue to brighten a heart.

Again, we appreciate your generosity, and we ask Christís blessing on each member of your family.

8-19 / To Families about Weddings: Decision not to Attend Daughterís

In this delicate situation, the pastor carefully chooses his words so as not to generate more negative emotion. Though he expresses understanding of the parentsí feelings, he gently urges them to reconsider, on the basis of the overall picture.

I was sorry to hear about your decision not to attend NAME and NAMEís wedding. The beginning of their new life together is an important time for them, and naturally, they want you, as NAMEís family, to share in it with them. It is causing them great pain to think that you cannot do this.

I know that you too are hurting as a result of this situation. It is always difficult to see your loved one choose to go in a direction you think is wrong, for whatever reasons. Yet I wonder if any cause of disagreement is so overwhelming that it is worth completely breaking off family ties. NAME does not want such a thing to happen, and I believe that in your hearts, you donít either.

For the sakes of all who are involved in this unpleasantness, I am asking you to reconsider your position. Certainly NAME has, is, and will in the future make wrong choices. That is part of the heritage that all of us, as human beings, are stuck with. But she desperately needs you to stand by her, in spite of them.

I realize that attending the wedding will not be easy for you to do, but I am confident that if you can make the extra effort and look at the long-range picture, instead of just what is happening now, you will not regret it. If, on the other hand, you stick with your decision, you may well come to feel it is one of the biggest mistakes you ever made.

If I can be of any assistance, please donít hesitate to contact me. I am hopeful that God will help all parties to reach a place of reconciliation before the wedding date arrives.

8-20 / To Groups about Anniversaries: Of Group

Thirty years ago, a small group of women at Community Church met to discuss their concern for the denominationís missionaries. While the missionariesí major needs were being cared for, the ladies felt that a number of little things could be done on a regular basis to brighten the days of the workers on the field. Organizing under the name of the Womenís Missionary Society, the group committed itself to writing weekly letters, providing remembrances for birthdays and Christmas, and keeping the church updated about the missionariesí personal victories and prayer requests.

From this humble beginning, the group has grown in both size and purpose. In addition to the initial projects, it has taken on year-round fundraising for missions, setting up several missions services a year, and actively recruiting future missionaries from the youth.

All this is at a time when it is increasingly difficult to get volunteers to do anything. Ladies of the Missionary Society, we salute you on this occasion of your thirtieth anniversary. You have spent those many years in faithful service to your Lord, and He will surely reward you as you deserve. If each of the missionaries whom you have aided could do it, Iím certain they would join together in one mighty voice of thanks for all you have done.

May our Heavenly Father continue to bless and guide your efforts on behalf of our missionaries.

8-21 / To Groups about Awards & Honors: Presented to Group

It is with great pleasure that I inform you that Community Church has been selected by the denomination as the recipient of the 200X Best Sunday school Growth Award. This honor recognizes the tremendous effort that the Sunday school department, as well as each member who has attended, has made in building up our Christian education classes.

As your pastor, I am extremely proud of our department for achieving this accomplishment. Many churches never are able to reach it. But then Iíve always known there was some thing special about the congregation here!

Again, thanks to all who have helped make this award possible. May we continue to work together not just to watch our Sunday school grow, but to see more people commit their lives to Christ and mature in that relationship.

8-22 / To Groups about Certificates: Ready to be Picked Up

Congratulations! You have successfully passed the CPR course you have been attending at Youth Group. Iím pleased to say that everyone who attended each of the sessions held in the past month did well on the exam. It will be a blessing for the parish to know that in case of an emergency, so many of our youth are qualified in CPR.

A certificate made out in your name is waiting for you in the church office. Please pick it up sometime within the next few weeks. Again, our congratulations!

8-23 / To Groups about Funerals: Of Group Members

The funeral for NAME and NAME will be held on DAY, MONTH XX, at 10:00 AM in NAME OF MORTUARY, ADDRESS.

Since you are a part of the Faithful Followers Sunday school class in which Mr. and Mrs. NAME were involved, their children and families would like to invite you to a dinner at Community Church immediately after the burials at CEMETARY NAME.

The tragic, unexpected loss of the NAMEs is a severe blow to all who knew and loved them. Please remember to keep the families in your prayers. While they may never have answers as to why the car accident claimed the lives of NAME and NAME, God can strengthen them as they go through this time of sorrow. And we can all take comfort in the assurance that the NAMEs are now in the very presence of Jesus, the Lord they served so faithfully.

8-24 / To Groups about Holidays: Christmas

Christmas is a time of giving. At no other time in the year are we so kind, thoughtful, and generous.

And this is as it should be. Giving helped celebrate that first Christmas, for when the Wisemen found the Baby Jesus, they presented treasures to Him. Throughout the Bible, we have many other examples of generosity and its rewards. Vastly exceeding even them is Godís greatest gift to mankind, His son. Subjected to one of the cruelest deaths imaginable, He submitted to it in order that we might live.

At this wonderful time of year, we can follow His footsteps by purposing in our hearts to be generous, yes, to our loved ones, but also to those who are in need, whether or not we call them friends. I challenge you this Christmas to seek out someone like that, a lonely, elderly person, a neglected child, an unemployed father, or a youth far from home. Find out what you can do to make his/her holiday a little brighter, It need not be expensive; time and some thought will mean more than costly gifts.

In helping others who canít pay you back, you are really helping yourself. Giving is one of the secrets of life. It is a basic clue to lifeís meaning. The grain of wheat cannot release its life unless it dies; the atom cannot give its power unless it is split. In fact, life cannot fulfill itself unless it is generous.

One of the most startling things Jesus said concerned the generosity of life. ďFor whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find itĒ (Matthew 16:25). In holding onto life, we lose. In giving it away, we keep it.

Christmas is a good time to learn this secret. May you have a rich and fulfilling holiday. I hold you in my prayers.

8-25 / To Groups about Recognition of Service: Of Group

Now that another Easter season is over, I would like to thank all of you in the Pathfinders class who helped in planning and putting on the Wednesday evening Lenten services. I found each one to be meaningful and well done; they added to my personal celebration of the resurrection of our Lord. While they must have involved a significant amount of time and effort, you have the satisfaction of knowing they went as scheduled, ministering to the congregation as it prepared for Easter.

Again, I appreciate your hard work and dedication. I know I can count on the Pathfinders.

8-26 / To Groups about Showers: Thank You for Holding

On behalf of my wife and myself, I would like to thank you for the recent baby shower you put on for us. The entire Couples Club went to a great deal of work to make it an enjoyable evening for NAME and me, and we will not soon forget the loving expression of caring. The gifts were also much appreciated, and will be put to good use as soon as our child arrives!

We would invite each of you to plan on coming over to meet our new son or daughter. It gives us joy to know that he/she will have such a wonderful group of people with which to grow up.

8-27 / To Groups about Thank You: For Memorial Gift

On behalf of the staff and congregation at Community Church, I would like to thank you for the ceiling fan donated by the Faithful Followers adult Sunday school class in memory of member NAME.

Iím certain the NAME family is deeply touched by this gift, one that will be appreciated by everyone, particularly in the summer months when the sanctuary used to get so hot. Each time the fan is used, we will remember John.

You have chosen a practical and appropriate manner in which to express your sorrow at losing John from your class. We are deeply grateful.

8-28 / To Individuals about Awards & Honors: Sunday School Teacher of the Year

For a significant award such as this, the letter writer wanted more than just a statement of announcement and congratulations. In this letter, he specifies not only the requirements for the honor and who makes the selection, but adds his personal pleasure at having worked with the recipient. With this much detail, the letter will be a treasured keepsake for her.

It is a great privilege for me to inform you that you have been selected as Sunday school Teacher of the Year. This award is to honor you for the years of faithful service you have given the children of this church, and we hope you will accept it as a token of the gratitude of the church staff and congregation.

The Sunday school Teacher of the Year is selected on the basis of evaluations of myself, the Director of Christian Education, other staff, teachers, and pupils. The winner is to be a person of integrity, consistently demonstrating a Christian lifestyle. He or she is to be faithful in attendance and show an interest in continuing to develop new and more effective teaching methods. A personal interest in the students which extends beyond the classroom is necessary.

In these and other considerations, you have excelled. Therefore, you are to be congratulated as the 200X Sunday school Teacher of the Year.

For me, personally, it has been a joy to work with you. Having you as one of our teachers has been an asset to the entire church. May God bless you in every way as you continue to serve Him.

8-29 / To Individuals about Birthdays: Eightieth

In addition to acknowledging first birthdays, itís appropriate to do so with those who reach milestones such as 75, 80, 85, and above. The letter writer takes the opportunity to also thank the honoree for the seemingly small contributions she has made over the years to the church.

All of us at Community Church want to wish you the best on the occasion of your 80th birth day. Reaching this milestone is a great achievement, but even more noteworthy is what you have accomplished in that amount of time.

Over the years you have been a member, you have taught Sunday school, sang in the choir, served on the board, and worked at countless church ice cream socials. Numerous visitors have been greeted by your smile, and itís not unusual to see you soothing a fussy baby so its mother can have a break. In short, you have been a faithful servant to your Lord.

Now God has granted you this special birthday. Enjoy it! We are confident that you will continue to minister in His name, and that He will bless your efforts and your life.

8-30 / To Individuals about Certificates: Verifying Details

Welcome! We were pleased to have you officially join Community Church last Sunday, and we trust that membership will result in both ministry to you and from you.

A certificate acknowledging your new status is being prepared for you. In order that it may be filled out correctly, please check the spelling of your name and the other information at the bottom of this letter. If any corrections need to be made, contact the church office at once.

The completed certificate will be mailed to you within the next two weeks.

Again, we are delighted to have you as part of our fellowship, and if there is anything I can do for you, donít hesitate to call my office.

8-31 / To Individuals about Engagement: Broken

While a broken engagement may not be as traumatic as a divorce, it can cause a great deal of emotional pain. Yet most people donít consider that when they hear of one. Here the letter writer sensitively offers support without prying into the reasons or taking sides.

I was saddened to hear recently that your engagement to NAME has been broken. Such a step is always difficult, and you will be in my prayers as you adjust to it.

Nevertheless, it is certainly preferable to break an engagement than to later go through a divorce. If the problems in the relationship caused you to wonder about the chances of a successful marriage, then you showed wisdom in stopping now instead of going ahead and risking a disastrous union.

It may not seem like it now, but God will lead you to the right person to marry, whether it means going back to NAME at some point or finding someone new. In the meantime, He cares about you and will help you through this rough time.

If you feel like talking, give me a call.

8-32 / To Individuals about Funerals: After Loved Oneís

If you are like many other bereaved spouses, you probably have little if any memory of NAMEís funeral. Thatís perfectly understandable, but I did want you to know that it was one of the most moving funerals at which I have officiated. The great number of people who attended could not help but be touched by the obvious Spirit of the Lord. I am certain that even in death, NAME was a tremendous testimony to the hope of life in Christ.

Of course, this does not by any means make up for the heartbreaking loss you have experienced. Life without her will always be difficult to some extent, although your pain will lessen after a time. Yet even so, you can take comfort in that NAME showed her deep faith to those who knew and loved her both before and after she departed from this life.

May the caring and compassion of God reach out to you during this difficult time.

8-33 / To Individuals about Graduations: Congratulations to Individual

Congratulations on this important milestone in your life! We at Community Church rejoice with you in this accomplishment.

We will be honoring all of our graduates on DAY, MONTH XX, in our morning worship service. We will be presenting a gift to each graduate in recognition of their hard work. We hope you can be with us, that we might be able to congratulate you personally.

8-34 / To Individuals about Receptions: Informing Others

Can you imagine serving 20 years as Sunday school superintendent? Time after time, dealing with unruly children, curriculum that isnít in when needed, and teacher vacancies would be something many of us would not want to face. Yet NAME has faithfully served in this position since 200X.

Iím sure you agree that something special would be in order as this remarkable man steps down. Whatís being planned is a surprise reception to honor NAME. Set for DAY, MONTH XX, at 2:00 PM, it will be held in the Fellowship Hall. Punch and cookies will be served, and we are asking everyone to write down a humorous or inspirational experience about NAME to be read aloud at the reception.

I know NAME would want you to come, so mark your calendar now. But remember, itís a surprise!

8-35 / To Individuals about Recognition of Service: Choir Director

Itís not necessary to wait to acknowledge years of service until the person is celebrating a round number such as twenty or thirty years. A simple letter of appreciation like the following might make the difference in whether or not the recipient quits when things get rough or stays with it to reach a round number.

As I was recently checking through some church files, it came to my attention that you have been choir director for 37 years. I had no idea that you dedicated your time and talent to Community Church for so long!

Your loyal service is certainly commendable; what a fine example of faithfulness year after year. I am certain that many people in the congregation have also noticed your hard work and determination to always have a prepared choir. Even though it may not be said often, you are appreciated.

Again, my thanks for your years of work with the choir. I trust that you will continue for many more.

8-36 / To Individuals about Retirement

On behalf of the staff at Community Church, I would like to congratulate you upon your retirement from COMPANY NAME after 30 years of employment. Your faithful service there has been an example to your fellow employees, your supervisors, and your family. I firmly believe that the Bible teaches that putting in a good dayís work and having integrity in oneís job are important. You have demonstrated those characteristics consistently over the years.

Now as you enter this new stage of your life, I pray that God would bless and guide you each step of the way. You may be retired, but He still has plenty for you to do!

Copyright © by Stephen R. Clark. All rights reserved.