Consider the roots

August 2017 – A reflection by Jim Hayes, Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center. This post originally appeared in the Center’s 2016 annual report.


Have you ever noticed the symbol of our “brand” for the Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center?

I see roots. I am told others see a blossom.

I have experienced the blossom born from these roots in my first days and weeks as the Executive Director of the Center. The clearest manifestation has been the staff—my colleagues. The Center has incredible talent. I have seen many examples of folks working together to get better, to find creative ways to bring hope and healing to the people we serve.

As I think more deeply, I am aware that so much of the good work that we do springs from seeds planted by many people I may never meet or come to know. I think of Ray Martin who worked with others to found the Center in 1972—45 years ago. Also nestled in this fertile soil are the many staff members who gave so much of their time and talent to refine our mission and serve our clients. Ellery Duke and Jeanne Schossow come to mind, who both retired in 2016 after decades of service. I am grateful for the hundreds of board members who wrestled with questions of mission and vision, along with the complex decisions and answers such questions require. I am humbled by the thousands of donors whose resources have made it all possible.

I witnessed such commitment when I recently attended the funeral of Betty Durden, who is highlighted in this issue of the annual report. I only came to know her through the ritual of her passing. I never got a chance to see her leadership on the board or to see her promote our work in the community.  Her heritage, however, continues to sustain us through memorials and planned giving as she remembered us in her estate.

As you read through this annual report, by all means celebrate the inspiring work that happens in this special place each day. But also remember the myriad roots of this fruitful mission.

James E. Hayes, D. Min., M. Div., Executive Director, Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center

In gratitude for all who committed to our past to make the present possible,



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