Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Coming back from Florida

(wrote on 1/3/07)

Wow, 2007.

As I write this I’m heading home from five days in Florida. Last Friday I returnedhome to preside over a funeral for a very close family friend, Fred Sielkop. Fred was a kind, gentle man who was my father’s closest friend and ministry partner for over 30 years. They first met in the renewal movement called ‘Catholic Charismatic’ when there was an openness to the Holy Spirit that grew in the Catholic church. Fred and my father served together in and out of the Catholic church since the early 1970’s. Our families grew close over the years. I have many memories of the Seilkop family and their old house on New York avenue in Deland.

The time went well. My dad, being ‘old school’ isn’t showing much emotion - there is simply a anxiousness and restlessness that I can see in him (even more than ususal - no one would classify the Liotti’s as relaxed!)

Being at home is always bittersweet. I love seeing my family and especially my sister and her kids. It was also good to spend some time with Karen Keller. I’ve known Karen since I was 15. Her and her husband Evan work for
Intervarsity Central Florida. She’s a great friend and I’m proud of what they are doing. The picture is of her and my sister. My sister Kelli and her husband are on staff at Christ Community Church in Daytona Beach, FL. Saul serves as the assistant to the senior pastor.

However, every time I go to Florida and especially to Deland I’m thankful for living on the west coast. Deland is a somewhat backwater southern town. It has grown much since I left for the last time in 1990, and people like my folks love it there. I don’t know - maybe too many memories. Visiting is good, but I’m not sure if I could live there again.

So - the passage into 2007 was a somewhat adkward one this year. I missed being with Melissa. My parents made the best of it - but everything had a somewhat grey tone.

At home, things have been going a little nuts. Before Christmas a young Tongan man was shot by a police officer. The cop wasn’t one from EPA - but an officer from an outside town that responded to a robbery in EPA. Our local force is small - so we regularly receive help from outside.

Essentially, as a result, the Pacific Islander community is in turmoil. Many are angered by the shooting and the tension has intensified a fued between the Tongans and Somoans. Another young woman was shot last weekend pushing our homicide rate up to 7 for 2006. Please pray for our city.

So… 2007!!... I’m interested to see what is in store for us this year. Many things with the credit union project are still in formation. We’ve come very far, we have very far to go. We also hope to kick off a youth program in the Spring. I’m in the process of recruiting a person to help with administration and to manage the youth programs. I'm excited about what's ahead, but happy to be turning another page.

Peace and blessings to you in this new year.

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