I want to recognize Terry Symens-Bucher and, before Terry, Damien Faughnan, for their dedication to serving Illuman since 2012 in their roles of President/Chair of the Illuman Board. Alongside Terry and Damien, I offer gratitude to all of our men, our brothers who have served our common mission in Chapters and Regions as well as in nationwide Illuman work. Our work is also sustained and supported by brothers working in so many countries around the world in ever-expanding circles to reestablish a worldwide masculine path which unites, sustains, and heals. In this year of 2020, this need has never been more self-evident.
I'd like to introduce myself as your incoming Chair of the Illuman Board. You see my wife of 40 years, Mary, in the picture with me. In 1993, my oldest son, Chris, who at the time was in sixth grade, in his own way expressed interest in experiencing a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood. In 1995, along with several men of our family, we organized a family-based rite of passage for him. Following that, we held an additional six similar rites of passage for my nephews and three other sons. In the late 1990s, I connected with the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) and Richard Rohr's work, attending my own MROP in 2001. I remained connected with M.A.L.Es work, as CAC called it at the time, and in 2010 joined a team convened by Richard to design what ultimately became Illuman. I served for a short time as Illuman's President until the initial Board and Wisdom Elders undertook the task of really establishing our organization (that we sometimes call an organism).
My own life service has included a total of nine years living and working in Venezuela and Mexico with the Maryknoll Lay Missioners in social justice service work. In each of those locations, my family and I lived through tense and violent political and economic strife, similar in cause to the divisions in which we live right now in the USA.
As I assume the office of Chair, I want to recognize and hold up the service of Chris de Lastic and Mike Anderer, who have graciously agreed to serve as Vice-Chairs. You will be hearing directly from Chris and Mike and—I hope—others too, in upcoming Drumbeat issues.
Here are my aspirations for Illuman:
1) That every man who connects with Illuman experiences deep healing and support through what Illuman offers, and most especially through the healing touch of the masculine heart.
2) That Illuman continues to expand and deepen to include and incorporate the life experience of men—those who identify as male, of all cultures, races, economic classes, formal educational levels, ages, geographies, religious traditions, or none. All belong.
3) That each man wholeheartedly undertakes that which is his to do in the world—And Soon. We contend with patriarchy, racism, and climate emergency. Now, perhaps more than at any point in the history of our species, we need men to step forward, investing every shred of our knowledge, wisdom, strength, and courage to serve LIFE!
4) That our society comes to know Illuman as a community of tender men and, at the same time, steeled and courageous men, dedicating our lives for the well-being of the planet, of our society, of our communities, families, and faith communities—and especially in service to those most vulnerable in the human and more-than-human world.
Brothers, it will be a very good day when all of these are as true as we can make them. In the office of Chair of the Board, I dedicate my best energies to draw upon your best energies, insights, and leadership to "Make It So"!