Transition at Christian Help of Mingo County

26 May

Dear friends,

On April 28, 2011, I submitted my resignation as Executive Director of Christian Help of Mingo County to the agency’s board of directors, to be effective June 14.  For the present, the board has named Sr. Therese Carew (our Program Director since September 2009) tobe the interim Executive Director of Christian Help, effective June 15.

In nearly two years here, my family and I have found Mingo County to be a wonderful place to live in many ways. The people are generous, neighborly, warm, and good. We have thoroughly enjoyed living among them and getting to know many of them as real friends. In some ways, this is the perfect place to live and raise kids. The people and their culture have taught us many things that we want to take with us.

I am not leaving because of dissatisfaction with my job or with either agency.  Christian Help is a wonderful place that’s doing vitally important work. I came with a desire to serve people living in poverty and (as ABLE Families’ mission statement puts it) “confront the systemic causes” of that poverty here in central Appalachia. I have learned a lot about that poverty and its causes, and my job has been very rewarding. One of those causes – but not the only one – is lack of access to quality education. It’s a very real problem with very real consequences to daily life here.

As director of Christian Help and ABLE Families, that has presented an invigorating challenge. But as a parent raising six young kids here, it’s frustrating. My wife and I decided that for the sake of our kids, it would be best to look elsewhere for the longterm. I have accepted a position as Associate Publisher at Liturgical Press, a Catholic book publisher based in Collegeville, Minnesota.

I want to thank everyone for their ongoing support of Christian Help, even after our founding director, Sr. Brendan Conlon, retired and I stepped into her shoes. They were big shoes to fill!  Christian Help’s mission remains challenging and important. Your support is vital and appreciated.

We’ll update you as soon as the board has made more long-term decisions about the agency’s leadership.  Having worked with Sr. Therese since we both arrived here together in September 2009, I know it is, in the meantime, in good hands. 

God bless you!

Barry

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