It is that time of year when we make our annual appeals for volunteers and for new sustainer enrollments. I know I have been beating this drum for a long, long time, and I am wondering if I haven’t put you to sleep. Or maybe it is just me getting old! But without either of these two really important tools, volunteers and sustainers, we are seriously hobbled in what we can do to address the needs of “the least, the last, and the left out.” And addressing them is a must, with whatever resources are at our disposal. Even if we can only offer prayers, we must.
When it comes to volunteers, we get our fair share of people who are willing to work a shift at the food pantry or come out at Christmas for a 4 hour shift. And we thank God for them every day because they are the lifeblood of our programs. Up until now Kathy and I have been supplying the leadership required to manage all of the programs currently offered by the ministry. Unfortunately we are starting to sag under the burden these programs require and we’re worried that we will have to stop some of them.
This is not a unique problem for our ministry. It happens not only to ministries, but to businesses, nonprofits, and educational organizations. We have built programs around needs that we identified by working our little corner of the Lord’s world. As we need to wind down because of age and health we need to make sure we continue to keep our priorities straight. As we have stated before they are God, us, family, job, and ministry. As many of you know we have a large family, 5 children and 13 grandchildren and our obligations to them are increasing as the grandchildren get older. Kathy and I both are at a stage in our lives that requires more of our time be spent on health maintenance, doctors, exercising, and resting.
So with all of this going on we have decided to make some changes in our lives. The first thing is that I will retire from the Diaconate, effective June 6, 2018. What this means is that although I will still have faculties to perform my liturgical duties I will not be assigned to a particular parish, have requirements for continuing education, or required to attend an annual retreat. I am also going to limit my involvement in the Knights of Columbus which takes up to 5 to 20 hours a month. We are closing down the following programs in the ministry, Fill-A-Truck, Day of Prayerful Work, and Fast of Hermas. It is our hope that by reigning in these demands on our time we will be better able to continue on with demands of the ministry.
We are also actively looking for people to take on managerial roles for the Food Distribution and Giving Tree Programs. Both of these programs require a part-time manager each. These programs are mature in their goals and objectives as well as staffing and procedures. The duties are scheduling, recruiting volunteers, training, policy and procedure maintenance, and helping out whenever necessary. For the Food Distribution Program, we see a 5 hour a week commitment and for the Christmas Giving Program it would require a fair amount of time in December, but very little from January to June.
We understand that to take on such a responsibility one would need to really believe in the program as a ministry. We are here to help train and fill in whenever we would be needed, so that a new manager would not have to stand alone but would be part of our management team.