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Beloved family and friends,

As the heat of summer has given way to autumn’s cooler beauty here in Michigan, the men of The Servants of the Word both here and elsewhere in the world are once again gearing up for another active and exciting year of reaching out to students on university campuses and the other fruitful environments God has led us to. We have just completed yet another immensely productive summer filled with youth conferences and camps, mission trips, summer formation households and other life-changing experiences for many young people around the world, and we look forward to this new season of fruitful service.

At the end of August, many of our brothers from around the world came together in Michigan for our Brotherhood Council. This meeting, which occurs once every four years, is an important time in our life for thoughtfully reviewing our life and mission together, for making any important decisions that lie before us at that time, and for electing our Presiding Elder for the coming four­­­­­­-year period. I had been elected in 2002, and then re-elected in 2006, and I was not eligible for re-election to a further term.  In choosing our new Presiding Elder from among our many highly-qualified elders, the members of the Council elected unanimously to appoint Ken Noecker as the next overall leader of our brotherhood. All of us (with the possible exception of Ken himself) are delighted with the results of the election. Ken, originally a native of the great state of Nebraska, has been very ably leading our work in the Philippines for the past 25 years.

This election occurs a year in advance of the actual transfer of responsibilities. This allows for a good transition, especially for the incoming leader who will need time to pass on much of his previous work to others before taking up his new role in The Servants of the Word. Please keep Ken especially in your prayers throughout this year as he prepares to take up his new role of leadership in our brotherhood. As of August 2011, Ken will be the Presiding Elder of The Servants of the Word, and I, your humble servant, will likely be bound for Asia to help cover the enormous gap that his departure will create. In the meantime, I still have before me my eighth and final year as Presiding Elder. Stand by, then, to receive my greetings and to see this mug of mine a couple more times before I sign off.

As we move into this fall season of mission, we in The Servants of the Word thank God for all of you, and for the support and strength which you are for us. We love you, and we pray for you! May the Lord bless you abundantly, and may He grant you the desires of your heart!

In Christ,

John Keating, Presiding Elder, The Servants of the Word.

John Keating
John has completed two terms as presiding elder of The Servants of the Word (SW) and has taken up residence in Manila. He serves as the regional elder for the Brotherhood in the Asian region. He continues as well to serve as vice president of the Sword of the Spirit (SOS), the international community to which the Brotherhood belongs.
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