Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Remembering Roger Hawley (Mike Runcie)

Remembering Dr. Roger Hawley(1929 – 2008)
Roger Hawley was the first person I met when I stepped onto the campus of York College in the summer of 1971. He asked me about my home town, my family, and about my interests in life. Little did I know that he would become a mentor, a colleague and a very dear friend. Years later, in 1985, our paths would cross again when Roger and Nelda moved to St. Louis for him to become the Director of Family Life at Christian Family Services. He was so highly regarded for his professional and biblical perspective on emotional and relational challenges that his counseling schedule quickly filled up with referrals from local churches.Over the next several years Roger and Nelda traveled the US and the world presenting seminars on “The Blessing,” “Helping the Helpers,” and “Caring for Your Aging Parents.” In addition, they were frequently asked to lead a weekend “Marriage Encounter.” Before I became Executive Director of CFS, Roger, Nelda, Deanie and I traveled to North Carolina to attend a marriage enrichment training led by David and Vera Mace – marriage enrichment pioneers. That experience did more to generate ideas on strengthening marriages and families than any other seminar we ever attended. With Roger as the visionary and me as the organizer we teamed up to create an outreach to benefit marriages. The annual “Growing Toward Marriage” seminar for engaged couples and “Growing in Marriage” weekend retreats for married couples have encouraged stronger relationships since 1986. Only God knows how many couples have been blessed by hearing the Hawley’s teach about and model a godly marriage. Roger and Nelda eventually became nationally certified to train the trainers of marriage enrichment events.Roger was an ENFP (for those who follow the Myer’s Briggs Type Indicator)! He was outgoing and intuitive, compassionate and easy going. Roger would literally “type” everyone he ever came in contact with. He loved to test colleagues on their depth of understanding personality styles. Roger was a wordsmith and a speaker extraordinaire. Around the office he was called the “King of Wing” because he could make a presentation on short notice and sound as though he had spent weeks in preparation!Roger and Nelda’s marriage was a living example of two people who grew up in different homes, with different personalities and different communication styles who were willing to work through their differences because of their love for the most powerful common bond of all – Jesus Christ. I thank God for Roger Hawley and for his contribution to Christian Family Services, the various Christian Colleges and universities he served, the many congregations he led and influenced, and for the many marriages and families that are stronger and more in love due to his influence. He was a man of God, a servant of the Kingdom, a devoted husband, a gracious father and grandfather, a faithful leader and a genuine friend. I am not alone when I say, "I am a better person because of Roger Hawley."Michael Runcie, Executive Director of CFS (1990 – 2007)

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