The "Write" Rules for Secretaries

Frequently Sabbath School secretaries for active Sabbath Schools will be asked to handle correspondence for the following:

  • Invitations to guest speakers and musicians, organizations, Community Guest Day participants and honorees.
  • Letters of appreciation for faithful service.
  • Affirmations for minuteman service.
  • Encouragements to absent and missing mem­bers as well as the sick and shut-in.
  • Notes of bereavement.
  • Responses to invitations by other churches and organizations.
  • Announcements of workshops, meetings, luncheons, orientation programs, etc.
  • Affirmations of nominating committee invitations.

Paper Products

Always use letterhead stationery (including postcards) and envelopes. If your church doesn't use printed stationery, buy a quality stamp bearing the church name and address. Or generate stationery on a computer, print with a laser printer, and duplicate on quality bond paper.

If you produce your own stationery, get the correct size and stock weight information from a local post office.

General Guidelines

  • Proofread. Use the dictionary and the spell-check feature of your computer.
  • Be accurate and specific.
  • If using a manual typewriter, correct cleanly.
  • File copies of correspondence.
  • Libraries have books and post offices have free publications that illustrate correct addressing procedures, state abbreviations, and zip codes.
  • Know the cost differences for postage in various size envelopes. Make a postage chart for frequently used mailings.


  • Be specific and accurate about dates, times, places, and response contacts.
  • Provide a response deadline.
  • Request that guest speakers provide written biographical notes.
  • Specify decisions about providing travel expenses, honorariums, housing and meals, transportation from and return to airports.
  • Find out the names of family members who will attend.

Make a Good Start 

Salutations include these: Dear Pastor Jones, Dear Dr. Jones, Dear Pastor and Mrs. Smith, Dear Mr. and Mrs. McGee, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Sister Jones, Dear Mary/Bob.

End Well 

Formal closings include these: Very truly yours, Yours very truly, Very cordially yours, Respectfully yours, Respectfully, Yours in His service, In Christian love/fellowship.

Some informal closings: Sincerely, Sincerely yours, Cordially, Cordially yours, Blessings, With His blessings.

Sample Correspondence

  • Condolence to church members: Your brothers and sisters extend their deepest sympathy to you and your family at this very sad time. We are praying that you will know the comfort that only our loving God can give.
  • Condolence to church friends: The Sabbath School of the Mount Zion Church . . .
  • Congratulations: Your Sabbath School rejoices with you about (the birth of your son/daughter; graduation; retirement; promotion; marriage). May the Lord richly bless you.
  • Appreciation: Thank you for your faithful service. Your time, talent, and   cheerful contributions to the Sabbath  School team will be long remembered.
  • Missing Members: We have missed your participation (smile, attentive spirit, nurture) in Sabbath School. I am eager to chat with you. My phone number (email, chat room address)
    is . . .
  • Acknowledgment: The members of the Laurel Ridge Sabbath School (Creative Christians, Class 6, etc.) are grateful for your generosity (thoughtfulness, information, participation). We look forward to worshiping (studying, serving, being blessed) by/with you again soon.
  • Visitors: We are glad that you chose to worship with us on (date). We look forward to having you with us again. Upcoming events on our calendar include . . .
  • Ministry: Thank you! We’re glad that you have accepted the invitation to join hands with us in Sabbath School ministry. I look forward to working with you. The following agenda items will interest you . . . 

© 2006 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists