Thursday, August 25, 2016

Retired daily editor still trying to make a difference in S.C.'s Low Country, now as a minister

The former editor of a South Carolina daily newspaper has traded in the news desk for the pulpit. After 28 years as the editor of The Beaufort Gazette, Jim Cato retired to become an ordained but unpaid deacon in the Anglican Church. So reports David Lauderdale for The Island Packet, which like the Gazette is a McClatchy Co.-owned paper covering the state's Low Country.

The Rev. Jim Cato "has gone from being the community lightning rod to talking almost in a whisper, telling me that this story and his new role in life are not about him but about God," Lauderdale writes. "His trademark bow tie from the sharp-elbowed newsroom has been replaced with a turned collar at the ancient Parish Church of St. Helena on Church Street. On Sunday morning, he is a robed gospeler, reading to the congregation from the altar."

"At 71, he can now baptize you, marry you and bury you. Instead of sweating over editorials and columns, it is now homilies and eulogies." Cato told Lauderdale, “No matter how many editorials I wrote about prison reform, I could not see it make a difference in people’s lives like doing what Jesus asks us to do and go and show love to our neighbors. Who is your neighbor? The prisoners at the Ridgeland Correctional Institute are our neighbors. We take the words of Jesus to them in the Kairos Prison Ministry, and show the love we are commanded to show, and you do see some changes.”

"Cato graduated from the University of South Carolina while working in a newsroom," Lauderdale writes. "He said his 39 years in newspapers felt like a mission. Like church work, it doesn’t make you rich and it is often seen as a calling to do good for society. But it was history in a hurry—much ado about each fleeting instant." The headline on the story? "Retired Beaufort editor's new deadline is eternity."

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