Leader Spotlight: Father Richard Creason

Father Richard Creason was born and raised in the St. Louis, Missouri area and is pastor at Most Holy Trinity Parish in St. Louis, Missouri. Most Holy Trinity is a small, but mighty congregation with about 175 parishioners and is a part of Gamaliel Affiliate, Metropolitan Congregations United (MCU). 

How did your work with Gamaliel begin? 

I met Greg and Mary in the late 1980’s at a 10-day training, and then about a year and a half later, we started doing some work in North St. Louis. It was at this point that we began to sprout up with small projects in Mid and South St. Louis. We were able to gather 5-6 South City churches to begin talking about organization, while at St. Pius with its 700 households we recruited about 30 lay leaders to work together on these efforts. I was a pastor at this point and Metropolitan Congregations United was conjoined in 1997, linking congregations across the St. Louis area. Despite all that progress, we are still experiencing shrinking and loss. Urban sprawl has led to economic white flight, often leaving behind older homes, older social infrastructure and economically poorer regions. This is the time that it is important for the Church and surrounding communities to advocate for those in need. 

How is Gamaliel’s Fire of Faith Campaign linked to Catholic social teaching? 

I believe that the Fire of Faith Campaign is linked to the idea of pastoral ministry and the greater care of individuals–especially those in crisis. At Most Holy Trinity, we have two food pantries, as well as other forms of direct service, but are working to grow our services into more advocacy based efforts. Right now, our advocacy efforts are underdeveloped, and we must work on how to look at the world and discern the needs of those around us, so that we can begin to empower these individuals in our community. 

How has your parish committed to Fire of Faith? 

We have concluded that sacred conversations are of absolute importance in building our advocacy efforts in our small congregation. We have committed that 15 leaders will have five one-on-ones a week during Lent to create a sense of how we are surviving and how to engage better in the social world around us. We will use these conversations as an opportunity to also advocate for those with no voice of their own. If all congregations begin to do that, that energy makes all the difference in terms of hope and stepping up to the more engaged effects of family, neighborhoods where there is a great need. 

What are you doing now within your parish and within MCU that is aligned with Fire of Faith? 

We are working with the Metropolitan Sewer District to not only improve the sewer systems themselves, but also to advocate on behalf of those who need these new jobs and those who need access to these new and improved systems. People of faith need to advocate because it is time our voices are heard. The Church should have a voice in the politics of economic development and neighborhood development on a great level–especially in St. Louis as we build a strong citizen base.

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