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Leaving my role; living my life in L’Arche

This past weekend we celebrated John Cook’s retirement. We are thankful for the many ways he has been and continues to be a part of our community. This is a letter John wrote sharing about his time in this role and the transition. 

My journey in L’Arche began 33 years ago when Michael Schaff approached me and

talked with me at a time when I was looking for home and family. I turn 66 this October,

and Michael will have been accompanying me on this journey in L’Arche for half of my

life. Guided and accompanied by Michael and others, L’Arche has become the home and

family I wanted. I now see myself living out my life in L’Arche.


My role in L’Arche has varied over the 33 years but has been that of Executive Director

for the past 21 years. Many people have not known me outside this role. I will complete

my time in this role – but not in L’Arche — at the end of 2016.


We’ve prepared well for this transition. Our leadership development efforts have

produced a cadre of leaders ready for greater responsibility. Our ongoing focus on our

spirituality has resulted in deepening commitments to L’Arche by many people. Our

annual fundraising campaigns produce a steady stream of revenue. All require ongoing

commitment, but all are working. Perhaps most importantly, many people pray for us and

help us remain rooted in prayer. Thank you for your part in getting us to this point and in

keeping us on track.


I’m excited about what’s ahead for me and for L’Arche. L’Arche will be doubling in size

over the next years with new homes and a new day activities program – both in

partnership with Georgetown University. Our existing homes will continue to be sources

of life for the people who live in them and for the hundreds of people who connect with

them each year. “I look forward to being involved (in a yet-to-be-determined capacity) and

hope you do, too.”



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