Brother David Henley Begins Work as Vocation Director
Brother David Henley has served as the outreach minister at Glenmary's Danville, Ark., mission for almost three years. During that time, he's experienced, on a daily basis, "what the needs are here in Danville, and I know that those needs reflect what our other mission areas experience," Brother David says. "With more missioners, we could meet more needs."
Beginning on June 1, he will be key in finding those future missioners as Glenmary's new vocation director, replacing Father Steve Pawelk, who has served as director for the last 10 years.
Brother David calls his new assignment "support ministry" as he works to serve and provide for Glenmary's future. "I see my job as walking with men through their discernment so that in the future, they will be helping serve the missions."
It wasn't too long ago that Brother David was in formation himself. The Columbus, Ohio, native took his Final Oath in 2006. "The formation program has changed since I was a student," he says. "But the discernment process never really changes. Many of the challenges and questions that I faced when I was discerning are the same today. I hope my recent experience will allow me help others along the journey.
"It's exciting to be able to invite men to join what I feel is a great community with a tremendous mission and ministry," he says. "I hope to share with others the joy that I've found serving with Glenmary."
Brother David first learned of the society as a high school volunteer at the Glenmary Farm in 1989 and eventually returned to the Farm as a manager.
Before entering Glenmary, he served with the Volunteer Missionary Movement in Chicago. He also spent a year working at a homeless shelter in Santa Fe, N.M.
While in Danville, Brother David served as the mission's DRE, overseeing the RCIA and religious education programs for both adults and children.
Fluent in Spanish, he served as interpreter for members of the immigrant community and helped with the paperwork needed for their immigration cases. He spent a year working at the local poultry factory as both a line worker and chaplain until the plant closed last year.
"My ministry in Danville began with my getting to know the people in the community and letting them get to know me," Brother David says. He's taking the same approach as vocation director.
Brother David will live at Glenmary Headquarters in Cincinnati, which will give him the opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge of the position and get to know vocation team members Patrick McEntee and Karen Stemann-as they will get to know him.
"I expect to eventually follow Father Steve's model of living in a mission," Brother David says. "But for now, I want to focus solely on my ministry as vocation director and the responsibilities that it carries.
"I hope I can share Glenmary's story and inspire men to follow a calling to serve the missions," Brother David says. "It's a real honor."
This story originally appeared in the Summer 2010 Glenmary Challenge.
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