Stepping up to the plate
From the Editor's Desk
By Kathy VanLoon
With this issue, I begin my new position as editor of Scarboro Missions magazine. This is a great privilege, following in the footsteps of Fr. Gerald Curry, a wonderful mentor and friend. Fr. Gerry now lives in his hometown of Sydney, Nova Scotia, sometimes helping out in parishes and promoting the work of Scarboro Missions in that region. He has offered to be a consultant to the magazine and I feel secure knowing that I can turn to him for help.
Kathy VanLoon, Editor
I joined the staff of Scarboro Missions 15 years ago, working with Fr. Gerry for 14 of those years. His is a unique working style, one of fairness, understanding and openness. He encouraged me to use my initiative and to develop my skills. He believed in my ability to contribute equally to the task of producing this magazine, and was willing to share responsibility. His confidence and encouragement continues to inspire me as I look towards this challenging task as editor and feel a sense of peace.
As editor of Scarboro Missions, Fr. Gerry shared his passion for the Gospel as a clear guide to living our faith. Despite today's reality of increasing poverty and the world's adherence to an economic model that does not answer the needs of a healthy, peaceful society, he holds fast to his belief in God's vision of a just and peaceful world.
He stands against the sin of unbridled capitalism, against large global corporate machines, driven solely by the market and profit, continually searching out more and more of the world's resources as if there were no limit, at the expense of local communities and businesses, the environment and human health.
In every edition, Fr. Gerry invited you to take part in the great mission of building the reign of God-to practice love and forgiveness; to assess all that we hear and see; to live simply, aware of how our way of life impacts others near and far; to be open to change; to be open to the 'other'; to dialogue with people of other faiths; to speak out for those who cannot speak; to walk in solidarity with those who struggle for a better life. Not really hard, not for people of the Gospel. Fear is our only enemy. We will fail many times, but this is a choice of life and faith. "When did I see you poor and naked?"
Fr. Gerry believes in the goodness of humanity, and that we all desire peace and happiness. I carry with me the example of faith lived by this gentle man-a true priest in every sense, who is faithful to the Gospel and to the vision of his Scarboro community. What a privilege it is to walk with him all these years and to call him friend.
I know that you will miss his active participation in the magazine with its strong message of justice and peace. But know that he will continue to take part, as he says, "in the background." To Fr. Gerry and to you, I promise to continue this work to the best of my ability.
This issue opens with an article by Scarboro lay missioner Karen Van Loon (same last name, but no relation to me). Karen writes about Kairos, a new ecumenical partnership through which the Canadian Churches continue to work for justice and peace. You will learn about Kairos' current petition campaign to stop negotiations of the FTAA (Free Trade Area of the Americas) and other trade agreements that threaten people's life and health.
Anne-Marie Jackson of Development and Peace writes of the tens of thousands who gathered at the 2003 World Social Forum-part of a growing global movement of groups, organizations and communities daring to live and envision another world.
We remember Scarboro missioner Bishop Paul McHugh, whose life was an example of faith, determination, and a great devotion to the Holy Spirit.
We also celebrate 2003 as Scarboro Missions' 85th year of service in building the reign of God. This year is also the 50th anniversary of Scarboro's mission in Guyana. I hope that in reading this issue, you will share the journey of ordinary people around the world who are living as though every moment counts. "Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation."