When I retired from my congregation, I asked the council to “please not swat any flies that they may see in the room when meeting.” It’s not the best way to be remembered as a “fly” but they got the point. My former secretary has a sense of humor and since my retirement has included in the newsletter a kind of “Where’s Waldo?” image, but of a fly. You get the point. It’s quite a legacy image to own.
For those who were not at Ron Drew’s farewell on December 1 at Pisticci Restaurant on La Salle Street in NYC (no fly would be found in that fine culinary place), my wish is that you could have been a fly on the wall. You would have gotten a good picture of just how much we appreciate Ron’s work with the Alliance. I realized, once again, the importance of “social capital,” which is just a “cool” way of speaking of the importance of relationships. We are very much going to miss Ron and the leadership he brought to the Alliance. We wished him well with prayer and multiple toasts, surrounded by laughter and heartfelt expressions. We will continue to keep him in our prayers as he moves on from his work with the Alliance. No one is going to miss him more than I, because he was my mentor. For sure, what I have learned is that our Alliance is truly an alliance, not only of program, but of persons—persons committed to ensuring that people in need receive care.
After that memorable evening, my hope is that we can go back there, or somewhere, and have more time in open conversation and then share a meal together. We all come from different places and serve different agencies and organizations, but we share the same problems and challenges. Focusing on the words “working and serving together,” taken directly from our mission statement, we may well find strength in numbers and joy around a table with people who share our values for reaching out to people in need.
Speaking of perspectives, the Alliance’s gift to Ron will be a photo poster display of the view of the Hudson River from his office window. I want to thank the staff at LSSNY for taking the photographs on a clear day, while Ron was out of the office. The hope was that the gift would be a surprise, and it took a while to get a sunny day, photographers present, and Ron out of the office for the pictures to be taken. I will have them posted on the Alliance website: www.LSNYA.org for your viewing.
“Led by the Spirit, my purpose is to further build networks of generosity and philanthropy in the Church and greater community, with a passion to “preserve, provide and protect” people in need, through the extraordinary work of our Alliance member organizations. Those three quoted words come directly from Luther’s explanation to the First Article of the Apostles’ Creed which, even to my last year in teaching, each Confirmation student was required to know
The above is my “line,” my perspective, when asked what I am doing with the Alliance, but a better way to communicate what the Alliance members are doing in our greater New York area could be seen that night, when we honored, toasted, laughed and prayed with our friend and my mentor. Thank you, Ron.
John Havrilla, E.D., LSNYA