The importance of community was of central focus in a message shared at the 33rd annual Pastor Appreciation Breakfast, Thursday, May 2, at Wadena Alliance Church.

Once retired, but now simply tired, Pastor Vaughn White gave a message, which focused on Romans 15: 2-"Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up."

Pastor White spoke of his moves to Wadena and why he continued to enjoy the place.

"I was lonely for the sound of the train whistle. I moved here because I liked the short and mild winters, the promise of a new highway, and a rainstorm always on the annual parade," White said, perhaps a little jokingly.

"We came here to be a part of the community, who else would move to the community of Wadena three times," Pastor White asked. "We've not been regretful or sorry in any case."

White shared that the church community is there to help the community to get through the difficult times in life. They are there to celebrate life. He gave examples of how he has seen such a community in Wadena.

He shared that the church communities that reach out, serve and worship are blessed.

"I want to remind us of Christ's community," White said, speaking of the disciples and the body of Christ.

He encouraged the group of about 60 people gathered including 10 pastors to consider the community around them and the needs they may have.

"Faith that's not hidden, faith that's not shadowed, faith that is expressed and lived that becomes vibrant and vital," White said.

White shared how easy it is to tear your neighbors down, he encouraged the audience to follow scripture and build their neighbors up.

"Be a blessing in the community," White said. "It isn't about how my day has gone or will go, it's about what He has already done for me and for you."

The event was put together by the Wadena Chamber of Commerce with executive director Jed Brazier welcoming in the crowd along with other chamber board members. Wadena Mayor George Deiss also shared remarks including a proclamation naming April 29 - May 5 Pastor Appreciation Week in Wadena, as a way to show thanks to their work in the community.

Deiss also asked the crowd to pray for, show appreciation to and grow with the area pastors as they work in the community.

He referenced Galatians 5:13-"You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."