Extravagant welcome works both ways for UCC chaplain, UCC national staff person
Written by Jeff Woodard
July 27, 2011

When Sir Isaac Newton mused that “every action has an equal and opposite reaction,” he obviously hadn’t met the Rev. Judith H. Blanchard –– or Kathleen Sattler.

The pair’s parallel actions of giving to one another recently have set off mutual, similar reactions of gratitude.

“I was literally in tears,” said Blanchard, a UCC chaplain clinical leader at Maine Medical Center. “I felt like that song, ‘You Are Part of the Family.’”

The source of Blanchard’s joy? The simple act of Sattler’s kindness –– and a UCC calendar.

 “We’ve had trouble receiving the calendars directly, and Kathleen was so gracious in getting one to me,” said Blanchard. “It made me feel so welcome and so supported. She did her job –– and way beyond her job. I was grateful for it.”

Blanchard was so grateful that she sent Sattler a thank-you note and a $100 check made out to the UCC: a gift in honor of Sattler, secretary for the UCC’s Parish Life and Leadership team for the past 11 years. Blanchard told Sattler to use the gift as she saw fit.

Clearly moved by Blanchard’s gesture, Sattler is putting the check toward endorsement, which supports and advocates for persons in special UCC ministries.

“That made the most sense to put it into the account for UCC specialized ministries,” said Sattler. “Not just for chaplains, but pastoral educators, counselors, the VA and federal prisons.”

Sattler beamed in reflecting upon her personal ministry moment. “When somebody from outside [the UCC’s] Church House calls in, if they can feel like they can connect with the national setting, that’s great,” she said.

Blanchard, who worked for the United Church Board for World Ministries more than a decade ago when the UCC was based in New York City, says her exchange with Sattler was “a grace moment in the middle of a hot summer.”

“Kathleen told me, ‘If you have any more problems with this, you call me at this number, and we’ll be sure to get you the calendar,’” said Blanchard.

For Sattler’s part, it’s clearly a case of doing more than “just” her job.

“The UCC is all about extravagant welcome and hospitality,” she said, “and I just always try to help people.”

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