by Barb Mazarakos
Working in the church office is definitely not for the faint of heart. While we may look in the window as we pass by and see the smiling faces of our Office Manager Julie Jancik and Administrative Assistant Jamie Deckinga with an office space that looks well under control, keeping the chaos reigned in is often not as easy at it seems. While both enjoy their jobs and the dear friendships they have made along the way (Jamie in her 11 years here, Julie in her 22), working in the church office does present its fair share of challenges. There are so many events that happen each day, sometimes they have to write down the news of our joys, sadness, transfers, and inquiries on whatever spare paper they can find (just take a look at Jamie’s desk pad if you don’t believe it!) Along with all those events comes the very human side of this job, with emotions flooding at any given time. It’s only natural when you consider how Julie and Jamie have gotten to know so many of us personally that they would rejoice when we celebrate the birth of a new baby or the engagement of a child as well as shed tears over news of a job lost, an illness diagnosed, a death of a member they have prayed for. One of their greatest challenges of their job from Julie’s perspective is that “We are a business office, but we are a church first. Business as in the business world can’t always be done the same way in a church office.”
Fortunately, the ladies both have strong support systems outside of work, each as a wife of over 30 years with a daughter and a son of their own. The lights of Julie’s life are her husband Carl (“He is soooo much the better half”), her daughter Sammi and her significant other Grant, son Jason, and daughter in-law Laurén. Her 3 ½ year old granddaughter Phoebe Faith, who is “more fun than watching TV” won’t be an only granddaughter for long as Jason and Laurén will be adding their own little blessing this fall. “Family is so important” seems to be Julie’s mantra, and she loves nothing more than spending time with them on the water and in the water at her “happy place”, her cottage in Paw Paw, Michigan.
When Jamie is away from work, she loves spending time with her husband Ken, daughter Kayli (a Certified Vet Tech), and her son Nathan, who is beginning his freshman year and playing baseball at Trinity Christian College. To help her decompress after a busy day of answering phones and using what Julie refers to as her “mad typing skills”, Jamie likes to scrapbook, spend time with her family and friends, and watch her guilty pleasure- reality TV. She is also a die-hard Cub fan (though some days that’s not quite as relaxing as her other hobbies!)
Maybe the biggest blessing to the ladies who provide the calm amongst the sometimes-stormy days of church work has been the friendship that has grown between the two of them over the years. When you work in such close proximity to someone and face the ups and downs that come from working in an environment that is predictably unpredictable on a daily basis, you are bound to be drawn together, but what makes their friendship so special is an obvious mutual love and respect for one another. Says Julie of Jamie, “I love Jamie. First and foremost, she is a woman of strong faith and wisdom. She possess’ mad typing skills, she can spell, her grammar is impeccable, she has a strong work ethic and she can handle anything that is thrown on her desk or mine for that matter. I think we make a great team. She makes my job easier; she is my blessing. “And the feelings are certainly mutual. Jamie mirrors those comments by saying, “I appreciate how well we work together and support each other in all aspects of our jobs. I love how we can lift each other up when things are not going well. I appreciate Julie’s friendship, strength, her faith in God, and love for her family and friends. She is a blessing to Christ Lutheran Church and to me.”
There is no doubt that a well-run church is made up of many people, from the Pastor who leads worship and helps guide their congregation through the ups and downs of Christian living to the custodial staff who keeps the building clean and running and the numerous volunteers who teach classes and run committees. But at the heart of all of this- in the place everything filters through- are the “ladies in the office”. How fortunate we are that our “ladies” are such great examples of Christian love, faith, and dedication. They are truly the calm that sets the tone for Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church. Thanks be to God for their loving examples!