- On February 9, 2014
Anyone who knew Jim Townsend knows how much he inspired us and encouraged us to seek out our spiritual destiny. I know that for me, Jim was invaluable in helping form the structure and vision of the Fishers of Men. He was always there with encouragement and advice which mostly meant; “Relationships first”. In his mind (and in mine) the power of the Fishers of Men was the appeal of likeminded men creating an atmosphere of trust and love. Once men felt like they had a place they really belonged, where their absence would be felt, they could then start to accept the accountability and responsibility from brothers on the same spiritual journey.
I was on the way to a Fishers of Men board meeting at 11:00 am on Thursday morning (2/6/14) when my phone rang. A fellow board member was calling me to tell me the sad news that we all never expected. He asked whether we should cancel our meeting. I somehow knew that this was a time when we needed to be together to pray for Jim and if the meeting agenda was never covered it would still be worthwhile. Another member called and said he felt like going to mass instead but when I invited him to join us in prayer he decided to come to the meeting. As each man silently came into the room he was met with comforting hugs and some tears from the others. As we prayed for Jim, his family, and the community that would feel the loss I felt like we were truly honoring this great man in a way he would appreciate. As we each told stories of how Jim had touched our lives, we remembered his humor, persistence, love, motivation, and overall capacity to touch so many of us in meaningful ways. The part he would have appreciated was the realization of how much the men in the room meant to each other. How unique and special it was to have men to help make sense of things that make no sense, to strengthen each other, to hold each other, to share and laugh and cry. How many men have other men who can help them find the light of Christ on the darkest of days, to know you are not alone?
Thank you Jim for bringing that home on the one day it was really needed; a day we were meeting to discuss our mission and relevance. Wow! There is no doubt about the relevance of men belonging to such a group. The men who attended were glad they were there and realize what a unique group we have and the gift we are to each other. That is our mission; bring men to Christ by bringing them together in an authentic way; “RELATIONSHIPS FIRST!”.
Thank you Jim for leaving us such a clear reminder of who we are and who we are meant to be.