Hi Chris,
   I am a pastor of a country church that is increasingly becoming filled with memorial plaques. Every time someone in the church dies (even if they don't come much) our board of deacons feel they have to go out and buy something and put a plaque on it with the person's name.  I just winked when a woman who left money to the church got a plaque on the organ that is very obvious to everyone as well as numerous vases and platters with people's names who had funeral dinners and thought they were paying for the meal, not a memorial.  But now there is this gigantic plaque on the Baptismal font that looks like a tombstone with the persons' name on it like "This is so and so's baptismal font".  At the deacons' meeting last night the head deacon wants to put a big plaque on the front door in memory of a man who did not attend church much but was a businessman who had lots of tradesmen friends who donated money in his memory.  I told the deacons that the church is starting to look like a graveyard with all the plaques and I didn't feel it appropriate to put a big plaque on the new front door.  There was silence and I realized I was treading on dangerous territory.  I just felt that the church must be forward looking rather than backward looking.  (most new people don't know who any of the people the plaques are for anyway.{  
  Can you offer any advice how I can take my foot out of my mouth or is this a hill to die on?

It could well be a hill to die on. The situation is a result of not having a memorials committee or some kind of official planning body. Right now it sounds like whoever has the loudest voice or political weight wins. One idea is to offer them Jesus. What would Jesus want us to do about the situation? At least it would give you a platform for addressing the wider issue of the purpose of this country church. Maybe you can find one of the folks who is respected who could stand with you on this. Having served a comparable church I hardly dare to give advise since I know how complicated all of this can be.
Courage, Bill.
Pastor Del  


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Delton Krueger


United Methodist Pastor, District Superintendent, Conference Executive for over sixty years. Book of Discipline and General Conference experience. Also provider of information regarding the sacred days of the great world religions. Experience in working with many world religions and in business at Mall of America.


Author of a widely used interfaith calendar -
Over fifty years of experience in the field of religion with a primary focus on Christianity and including experience with people of world religions.

Mall Area Religious Council
United Methodist Church as ordained clergyperson
Bloomington Community Foundation

Portable Guide to World Religions 2007

Hamline University, St. Paul, MN Drew University School of Theology, Madison NJ

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