Dynamic Duo—Ushers for 41 Years!

Dynamic Duo—Ushers for 41 Years!

by Kelly Fedeli

Rob Kepler and George Ludwig have been ushers for 41 years—yes, you read that correctly—over four decades. They have been part of the same team since 1975 and presently work together on the third Sunday of each month at the 10:30 AM service.

In the early 1970s a couple invited George and his wife Nancy, along with Rob and his wife Ruth, to attend our church. The women had all been friends through a local women’s club. The wives served in the nursery, so the guys began searching for an opportunity to be part of the life of the congregation.

“I started ushering as a way to give back to the church,” Rob recalls. “I wanted to be involved, but not overcommitted. Ushering worked out just fine.” Rob lives 30 minutes from the church and George about 40 minutes. They agree that this position is ideal for people who travel some distance on Sunday mornings.

“Ushering is a fairly simple but meaningful commitment and way to serve the Lord when I can’t be effectively involved in other areas of ministry,” George stressed. “I really enjoy the interaction with the other ushers on our team. Greeting and assisting members of the congregation as they enter the church is also very rewarding.”

The duo recalled a humorous story that happened shortly after they began their service. Around 1975-76 the church voted to purchase new hymnals. At that time the service was being held in what is now the auditorium, and there were not enough hymnals for each seat. Depending on what they thought the attendance might be, it was up to the ushers to guess in advance whether to place the books on every third chair or every second chair. “Sometimes we guessed right, and sometimes we didn’t!” Rob recalls. “But it sure was interesting to witness the dynamics of people sharing hymnals.”

George and Rob have each assisted with emergencies that occurred during services. Through his experience helping to coordinate a response, George learned that the role of an usher is not just seating members of the congregation. Rob recalled a time when two medical emergencies occurred during one service.

What keeps these two going after all these years? “I keep doing it because I still enjoy the commitment and still enjoy helping people at the church,” Rob said. “George and I have met hundreds of people that we’d never have met by just attending and sitting in the pew each Sunday. More than anything, you learn that everyone has a story—good, bad, indifferent. I may not know the details, but regardless, I try to be as respectful, kind, and helpful as I can. Even if I only encounter people for a few seconds, having a friendly face to start your worship experience can make all the difference.”

“When folks that are new to the church express their gratitude and appreciation for giving them a warm welcome to a somewhat overwhelming, large church environment, it’s very gratifying,” George said. “It’s the little things that sometimes mean the most.”

George has approached people to usher in the past, and a typical response is “I have had no training and really don’t know what is involved.” The church provides training for all ushers and places new ushers with a more experienced person on the team.

“This is not a difficult job, and the time commitment is minimal,” George stressed. “If you are willing to greet others, assist with any seating or special seating requests, and generally be pleasant and welcoming, you can serve in a very meaningful way.”

George and Rob just agreed to serve for another year as ushers. We thank them for their many years of dedicated service.

If you are interested in learning more about being an usher, you can email serve@hersheyfree.com or stop by the Serve Point kiosk located in the main lobby.

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