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« Christmas and Beyond | Main | Reverend J. L. Hall »

Kenneth F. Haney

On December 8, 2009, I wrote this letter as a response to the administration of Kenneth Haney after eight years as General Superintendent.  Little did anyone know that we would attend his funeral less than two years later.  As I re-read this letter, I felt it said everything I would have said in a written farewell.  Hopefully, it will add something unique to the hundreds of other expressions that his passing has inspired. 

Dear Brother and Sister Haney, 

Leadership at the highest levels requires a special dispensation of the grace of God.  “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”  Of all the things will be said about both of you during your farewell season, this quote from John Kenneth Galbraith seems most appropriate to me.  Your ability to identify the major anxieties of our time, and the courage to address them, will forever define your place in the history of the United Pentecostal Church, International.  

Thank you for bringing integrity, transparency and kindness to the position you held.  Thank you for your determination not to politicize your office.  Thank you emphasizing a realistic approach to our operations, even though it necessitated difficult decisions.  Thank you for leading us again and again to unity and brotherly love, pouring in the oil and balm of healing.  Thank you for reminding us of our glorious oneness Pentecostal past, in both formal and informal ways while continuing to show us an even more glorious future that remains within our reach.  Your irrepressible optimism set the tone for the many leaders under your influence, like me, and you constantly gave us a sense of purpose in our collective vision. 

You accomplished all of the above without diminishing your ability to personally touch our lives.  You took the time to shake our hands, call our names, compliment us on our achievements and listen to our grievances.  You conducted yourself in your official capacity with exemplary humility, never showing the effects of any private burdens or difficulties of your own.  You accepted the will of the brethren as the will of God, and you demonstrated to us all tremendous grace and dignity as you relinquished your position to another. 

I am confident that you will venture into the next phase of your life and ministry with great faith, but there will be moments of reflection on the past eight years.  As you look back, always remember that you engaged in greatness, not pettiness; that you were a force for the positive, not the negative; and that you always chose the right way, not the convenient way.  You did not choose the climate or context of the times in which you were thrust into leadership, but you did not vacillate under the stress and demands of the circumstances.  Truly, you were brought to the kingdom for such a time as this.  

We are a better people, a better organization and we are better equipped because of your eight years at the helm of the United Pentecostal Church, International.  You have our undying gratitude. 

With great love and respect, 

J. Mark Jordan

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