by Joe Gill
Listening Hearts co-author, long-time Listening Hearts (LH) board member, and former president Teto McLean passed away on January 15, 2021. He was 92. Teto was a lawyer, birder, music lover, tennis player, father, and husband to LH board member Patricia Friend and formerly to Peggy Merrick, who died in 2002. He was an informal scholar of St. John’s Gospel and the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer. A full obituary from the Baltimore Sun may be found here.
I met Teto in 1997 as my co-author in the writing of Listening Hearts. His humility and sense of humor was his hallmark – a twinkle in his eye was ever-present, as was his sense of purpose. Often, he would say, and mean it, that “God has work for us to do. Always reluctant to draw attention to himself, at our invitation last year he shared with us an essay of “his” experience of God’s early presence. He titled the essay, “Turning to God.”
In the 1950s, I had the experience of turning to God on a matter that was causing me genuine concern. I had been asked by our Rector to give a sermon. I was in my 20s and newly returned to my earlier Christianity.
What was bothering me was that giving a sermon seemed to me to involve a conclusion on my part that I was worthy of preaching to others. I knew this was not the case, and I was troubled. As a consequence, I almost unconsciously found myself turning to God in prayer. While this was more than 60 years ago, I can still remember vividly the physical surroundings of where I was as I did so.
The particular matter bothering me was incidentally and satisfactorily answered, then and ever since. But what was most truly significant during that time of prayer was that I personally experienced the Lord’s presence. And that experience of turning to God and finding Him has remained central to my existence ever since.
Teto was one of a kind. His humility, warmth, and deep faith carried him through life as a light to all whom he met. My memory of him is a blessing.
Joe Gill, trustee President of Listening Hearts Ministries, is a co-author of Listening Hearts: Discerning Call in Community and a leader of the Day of Discernment program.