Village of Dad’s

A Village of Fathers

    This is Father’s Day.  A day in which we remember our dad’s. We do not appreciate our dad’s enough, Joseph is never fully appreciated, we hear about Mary, but not the father of Jesus.

    Today I was going down the street, and one of my guys from the Haight yells at me. “Shadow” runs over and hands me a package, and insists I open it, and there  was a piece of hand made jewelry. He said, “This is Father’s Day, and you are the closest person I have ever had who is a dad to me.” The brightness in his eyes, tore my heart to pieces as I cried. I forget sometimes that the reason I love the title “Father” is not because of the prestige, but because it reminds me I am a parent, brother, friend, to so many young men and women. Parenthood, family, is not about blood, but love.

And I am a part of a village of dad’s that all children have, who have help raise us up, and continue to father us. To my mind come a number of father’s:

    My biological dad, who signed the adoption  papers, when I was four so that my adoptive dad could adopt me, and give me a life in which he would raise me and provide for my education. My adopted dad nurtured me in the faith, lived a life of prayer, and of hospitality, forming me into who I am;

    The pastor’s who shaped my life from an early age: David Richardson, my child hood pastor, taught me how to look at the Bible as a book written by men, but inspired by God, and how humans impose their own interpretations around sexuality, women, and other social issues, that are not Biblical, or even present in the Bible. He and my father taught me to love the Scriptures, not as a judgmental book, but as one that demonstrated  the love of God; District Superintendents The Reverends Eldridge Barkley, and Jack Montgomery, Jr., the first gave me my first church assignment, and the latter ushered me through my ordination process, Fr. Louie Vitalize who supported me, pastored me, encouraged me my first fifteen years here in San Francisco;

    And the father’s of my  faith: St. Francis of Assisi, teaching me to live simply, to love nature; John Wesley, founder of Methodism, a hero of mine, from whom I learned that Christ comes in many faces to humanity; St. Damien of Molokai, giving me a vocation to prostitutes and homeless street youth, always teaching that they come first, and are Christ present in our midst; and Peter Maurin, co-founder of the Catholic Worker, who taught that ministry is one on one, that for everyone to be fed, housed, clothed, each of us must do our part.  We are to live simply, so that all may live.

    Father’s Day is reminder that we need our dad’s;  And we are a part of the Village of Dad’s called to nurture, teach, and love children and youth.

Fr. River Damien Sims, sfw, D.Min., D.S.T.

P.O. Box 642656

San Francisco, CA 94109

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