SOS: Betty MelanderStories of Service: Betty Melander
If you see Betty Melander coming toward you on any given day at Westwood, members beware: you may well be on your way to being successfully recruited for a volunteer project. I like to call Betty the “queen of recruiters.” I’ve seen her actively and deftly recruiting people on Sunday mornings during the coffee hour. She is friendly, easy-going, persistent, positive, and driven to succeed in her “mission du jour.” Recruiting is Betty’s unique gift. She has a natural penchant for connecting people and their personal gifts with the many projects and causes that need doing.
After being actively involved in the children’s choir and bell programs of four different churches of varying denominations, Betty arrived at Westwood in 1980 from Calvary Lutheran in Golden Valley. Even at Calvary she had been immersed in serving as their youth and children’s choir director. Once she arrived at Westwood, Betty was determined NOT to “get involved” and to content herself to sit in the back row and just worship. Well, that didn’t last too long: the Holy Spirit had other plans for her. Before she knew it, Ronnie Nelson recruited Betty into the A Cappella Choir; she soon became choir president; and then was recruited to join the Worship & Music Committee, on which she has actively served and/or led since the early 1990’s.
Music is Betty’s main venue for establishing connections with other people and sharing her faith. Aside from all her service to the church, Betty has taught piano privately in her home for 35 years and personally influences the lives of children as their piano teacher. She continues to do so at present. Betty’s additional gift: inspiring and mentoring young people to believe In themselves through teaching music. She offers positive support and encouragement at every turn, wherever she happens to be at the moment. She also supported her husband Ted with his many family-centered volunteer activities, such as scouting. Furthermore, Betty has held active leadership positions in the Minnesota Music Teachers Forum since the 1980s. She’s not a quitter.
What motivates Betty to serve? “I believe we all need a faith and spiritual life, a belief in the Triune God. Music is a point of entry.” Betty uses her gifts and talent for music and teaching to create those spiritual points of entry as she relates to others.
So the next time you see Betty approaching you with her cheerful smile, remember that she is only doing what comes naturally to her, and your correct response will be, “Yes, I can do that.”