Featured letter: Farewell to Rev. Barker
At recent meetings of the Block Island Ecumenical Ministries, Inc., and the Roosa Fund of Block Island Ministries, a seamless transfer of chairmanships occurred by acclamation from the Reverend Daniel Barker to myself, Reverend Joseph Protano.
At the end of April, Father Dan and his wife and faithful partner, Meg, will retire from their pastoral leadership at St. Ann’s-By-the-Sea and return to their home in Syracuse, New York. In days to come, others will praise Father Dan’s ministry as Pastor of St. Ann’s faith community. I wish to use this space to sing the praises of Father Dan for his chairing the BIEM Board of Directors and the Roosa Fund Advisory Committee.
Father Dan was the grown up in the room. With a quiet, mature demeanor, he conducted the business at hand with effective leadership qualities, always even tempered, disciplined and principled. Possessing a witty sense of humor, he was able to transition from taught argumentation to reasoned solutions without hard feelings. It was both pleasant and instructive to observe his style of leadership.
In the several years Father Dan presided over the BIEM as its president, he guided the organization in implementing its constitution, establishing sound financial accountability, and coordinating organizations under the umbrella of services responsible for so much good on Block Island, such as the Mary D Fund, the Ecumenical Choir, the Manley Fund, Sendai, Batchelder and Roosa funds. He was able to take the brilliant work of Elliot Taubman and guide the board members to use legal terms and put them to practical, day to day use.
With the Roosa Fund, Father Dan saw to it that the great generosity of David Roosa was made a workable, manageable foundation by marrying the exquisite legal documents of Elliot and the administrative skills of Patrick Tengwall. Father Dan, with the Advisory Committee, has set a course for the Roosa Fund to do much good for the island and the charities close to the heart of David Roosa for years, in fact decades, to come.
In and through all these legal, moral and charitable intricacies, Father Dan also shepherd the varied, diverse personalities of board and committee members with prudent advice and, yes, even spiritual counsel. He not only led by example but also befriended those on whom he depended for sound support.
For all of these reasons and many more not touched upon here, Father Dan has left his mark on those who know him and on the multitudes who will never know him. But the One who knows all, sees all and blesses all has bestowed on Father Dan the most appropriate accolade: “Good and faithful servant.” Thanks, Dan, from all of us. Arrivederci! Bon voyage! Ad multos annos! Clear sailing! Peace!
Rev. Joseph Protano
President of BIEM, lnc.
and Chairman of the Roosa Fund Advisory Committee