By Kathryn Menue

Editor –

BELVIDERE – To many, Karen McClenthen is the backbone of First Presbyterian Church in Belvidere. Through her work as the administrative assistant, she has devoted herself to the church, to the board, to the pastors, to its members, and to the Lord. Her dedication has spanned an incredible 40 years.

On Monday, April 11, McClenthen’s friends and family gathered in the basement of the church to honor McClenthen for her commitment to her faith and to her work.

At 6:30 p.m., the celebration began with First Presbyterian Pastor Bob Kopp thanking McClenthen for her 40 years of service.

“I expect the three most important ingredients of somebody really called to ministry: loyalty, loyalty, and loyalty. I expect more than the extra mile,” Pastor Kopp said. “Karen is the only one who has ever met those expectations.”

During his celebratory speech, Pastor Kopp also provided a light and amusing toast to the woman of the hour.

Karen 3“I’ve only been here over 10 percent and less than 12 percent of that time [40 years],” Pastor Kopp said, which prompted McClenthen to respond to him, saying “thank you for making me feel old.”

With laughter filling the room, Pastor Kopp proceeded by stating, “Of course, Karen will always be a year older than me,” sending the room into another fit of laughter.

All joking aside, the room congregated at the banquet tables to feast in honor of McClenthen. The group enjoyed a three course meal courtesy of McClenthen’s sister, Mary and her family.

During the meal, McClenthen enjoyed the good food and the good company with her husband, Jake, of 46 years beside her.

After dinner, Fred Brereton unveiled a present for McClenthen. With the gift presentation, Brereton outlined how much McClenthen means to the church.

“I know that Bob likes to think that he runs the church, but he has confided in me that Karen is the boss and knows a lot more about the church,” Brereton said.

With that, Brereton presented the gift from the group to McClenthen.

As she opened the present, McClenthen found a heartfelt card and ruby earrings with a matching necklace.

Sue Flott picked out the jewels since ruby represents 40 and everyone agreed they would be the perfect fit for McClenthen.

“I don’t mind these popping out,” McClenthen said of her extravagant gift.

McClenthen thanked everyone for their generosity.

“Thank you everyone,” McClenthen said. “That was very nice.”

She is not normally one for the spotlight and even tried to dissuade everyone from making a fuss over her, but in the end, McClenthen had a wonderful evening and was very grateful for all of the love and support.

McClenthen said she wouldn’t have been able to do her job without the support from the church.

She said “the people, the members, and getting to know so many friends” are what make the job worthwhile.

“I love my job. That’s the best part,” McClenthen said. “That’s why I stay.”


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