For We Have Promises to Keep
Rhys Williams, a beloved colleague and longtime friend, served this Society as its president for nearly forty years. He was like a brother to me throughout our ministries, our close friendship dating to our years as classmates at St. Lawrence University. During his final days in the summer of 2003, Rhys said to me, “You never know,” reflecting on the illness afflicting him. Just as many of our beneficiaries poignantly tell us that they never thought they would find themselves in dire straits. Unfortunately, we know that randomness is a fact of the human condition. It is not just something that happens to others.
We have promises to keep. And this promise, handed down to us over 166 years ago, calls us to pay attention to those who have served our movement, not to let them fall off our “radar screen”, not to buy into the “claptrap mythology” that makes people feel that being in need is somehow their fault and that asking for help is a sign of weakness. And finally, all of us in our liberal religious faith are called to disabuse those good retirees of the false notion that there are always others whose needs are greater than theirs. This is our mission, then: to be visible, attentive and generous to our retired ministers, their families and survivors, whose needs merit our help.
--Rev. Dr. David C. Pohl