Otis worked for racial justice in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), our country and the world for more years than I can remember. He gave himself in the struggle.
Otis and I met while I served on the staff of the Presbytery of the Western Reserve. He was on General Assembly staff.
He quickly became my mentor and we developed a deep friendship that has placed a significant role in my ministry and my life.
Otis recruited me to work on the Facing Racism: In Search of the Beloved Community paper of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). After the General Assembly adopted the paper, I went to Louisville to work on its implementation. With Otis, and others.
For two good, important, life-shaping (for me at least) years, we worked together.Otis retired for health reasons shortly after I moved to the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, but our friendship continued.
When he moved to Florida, we would talk on the phone every couple of months.And then, as it so often does, time slipped away. The time between calls grew longer and then extended to years.
Yesterday I spotted Patsy on Facebook. We became virtual friends. I asked about calling Otis. She said he would welcome a call.
When I called, it was as though no time had passed. Oh, he spoke more slowly and deliberately, but I likely did so as well.
We laughed. Tears welled in my eyes at times, and probably in his.
It was a sacred moment. A moment in which I learned of his upcoming surgery.
I have been praying since. I invite you to join me.
And I encourage you to contact one person who has been a mentor to you and let that person know!
Do it for the love of Otis.
See you along the Trail.