At 4:30 AM on most Sunday mornings–while most of us are still sleeping– Ed quietly unlocks the doors to the church building and begins preparing for the day. The bulletins need to be prepared—but before that, he turns on the heat. The sanctuary needs to be ready for church—so Ed makes sure everything is in the proper spot. He is not paid; he just feels called, and he cherishes the responsibility.
The homeless men who sleep at the church on Saturday nights in the winter months will just be waking—and after he finishes in the sanctuary, Ed goes to welcome them. He helps with breakfast. Sometimes, he has already been there all night volunteering as an overnight shift chaperone.
Ed is a lifetime member, and his presence and care over many years have given him unique relationships and memories. Ed knows everyone, and everyone knows Ed. Without even realizing it, he serves as the institutional memory of the congregation.
As the morning service begins, Ed likes to make sure that everyone has access to the communion table. He quietly supports the acolytes, ushers, and communion assistants. He enjoys training the new acolytes, making sure that they feel comfortable in their worship role. In fact, Ed loves the young people there, period. He often mentors confirmands, and on Sunday nights shares a meal with the youth group. He always stays to clean up. Somehow, he knows every child by name.
Ed’s service to his congregation and his relationships with them are part of his DNA. He does the work that goes largely unnoticed, and he does it lovingly and selflessly. He welcomes all with an open mind and heart. Ed’s life is a beautiful example of diakonia— living a life of humble service that models Christ’s own.
ABOUT THE AWARD:
The LDA recognizes that all Christians are called to serve. There are countless everyday Christians who do this with a diaconal heart- humbly and with attention to those on the margins. This is called ‘diakonia,’ and it means welcoming, preparing, bearing the Christ light, listening, and serving on bended knee in a hurting world. It means following the example that Jesus gave us in his service to humanity. In order to recognize and lift up this type of service, each year the LDA honors someone with the “Diakonia en Christo” award. On Sunday, December 2, the LDA gave this award to Ed J. Seykowski, of Christ Lutheran Church in Valparaiso, Indiana.