Janet Avery, long time secretary for the Cedar Springs United Methodist Church, is retiring at the end of September, but will continue as church organist. Janet started as church organist in 1961. Then, in 1974, she took the position of church secretary, which she has held for 42 years.
Janet has played the church organ almost every Wednesday rehearsal, Sunday service and special occasion for 55 years. She has played weddings, but has not kept a list how many or for whom she has played. One thing she does know; she has served as organist for children and perhaps grandchildren of those she played for when she first started.
However, it the job of church secretary that has made Janet most known at church and throughout town. She has worked 20 hours a week for 42 years. The Methodist church is an open church, opening its doors to many organizations, groups and people. It is Janet who keeps the calendar or maybe the phrase should be “guards” the calendar. The list of what Janet does is long, very long. Even she cannot list everything; she just does what is needed when needed. Over the span of 42 years, she has learned that could be almost anything,
The church will celebrate Janet’s retirement on October 2 with a potluck dinner after church at approximately 11:30 am in the Fellowship Hall. Food can be placed in the refrigerator or an oven during church service. The potluck will be followed by an open house until 2:00 so people may join the church in celebration. Love offering contributions may be mailed or brought to the church and should be labeled with her name.
In 1970, Robert Townsend, author of “Up the Organization” added a special chapter for women in his book on business organization. Townsend encouraged women to seize the opportunity to be secretary as they soon know everything about the organization and therefore control it.
Although Janet had not read the book, she followed this advice when she became secretary at the United Methodist Church in 1974. Today she does know everything about the church and its mission as well as the mission and purpose of the organizations who are part of the church or who use the church building. Parishioners are wondering how anyone new can learn what Janet knows and does. After all, they won’t be able to use the traditional means to find out things, which is simply “Ask Janet.”