I just blogged about carefully choosing who you model your life on. I loss my listening leader and friend when Clint McCoy died Sunday. I am now abruptly staring into a future absent a special model who was taken by the Model Maker. I am sad. I feel badly for his wife and children, his neighbors and co-workers, and countless colleagues in the Synod of the Northeast and across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
As much as I'd like to think its true, and in spite of my improvement, I am no listening leader like Clint was. The Rev. Clint McCoy served as the Co-Executive for Partnerships for the Synod of the Northeast and in that role he helped me grow and change. My wife Melissa and I enjoyed every conversation we had together and both affirm the debt I owed Clint for his contribution to my work of helping 8,000 Presbyterians in Newark Presbytery make different the lives of its 800,000 neighbors.

Clint has been a good friend and colleague to me for many years, helping me be my best in countless ways. He understood me. He believed in me and welcomed my gifts. He was committed to a transforming Presbyterian Church as we courageously followed where the Spirit led us. He somehow evoked the best in others and with the skill and patience of a fisherman, he always served up a feast of joy using the simplest of tools.

I was with Clint on Saturday at the New Jersey Presbytery Partnership Group meeting. He looked great and more rested than he appeared at July's Minneapolis Assembly. We spoke about the fading Summer and calendared several meetings ahead from African American ministry, to college chaplaincy, to middle governing body challenges; all of which he fully welcomed. Clint offered the same great insight and nurturing guidance we all counted on.
Returning to his home expecting one last Summer day on the lake with his wife, Clint died. In the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, please keep his wife, Barb, and their entire family in your prayers as they grieve this unforeseen and devastating loss. I spoke personally with the McCoy family and synod staff, trying to encourage them by reminding them of God's love and the support and prayers of Newark Presbytery and the Synod Executive Collegium,

Its painful to loose someone you admired, someone whose traits you sought to emulate. My Listening Leader now listens from a different vantage point. Clint is not sitting next to me at a presbytery meeting in the same manner. We are not on conference calls any more. He is no longer encouraging me to figure out how to release the health and vitality of churches and their leaders in a stressed but changing system. The hopeful counsel I sought must now come less from Clint and more from what I learned of Clint, as he followed Jesus.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. I hope I paid attention. I will be forever grateful knowing Clint did.