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Mr. Rogers' Day

Best neighbor ever

Connect to the work and life of Fred Rogers on ‘Mr. Rogers’ Day’ March 20

by Tammy Warren | Presbyterian News Service

Kids young and old alike loved Fred Rogers, and he loved all his neighbors, just as they are.

LOUISVILLE — It’s nearly time to celebrate “Mr. Rogers’ Day” in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and what better day to do so than March 20, the birthday of one of the most well-known ordained Presbyterian ministers of all-time, everyone’s neighbor — Fred McFeely Rogers (1928–2003).

“In the 1980s the Peacemaking Program worked with Fred Rogers himself, and then again in the 1990s, with the producer of his television program ‘Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,’ to create resources for Presbyterian congregations and families,” said the Rev. Carl Horton, coordinator for the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. “Those resources, though dated, are still available and as timeless and relevant today as is the wisdom of Fred Rogers.”

It was Rogers himself who said, “We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.” Rogers also said, “Real strength has to do with helping others.”

When Rogers was a child and would see scary things in the news, his mother would say, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” He took comfort in knowing that especially during times of disaster, there are still many caring helpers.

“As a young child in a rural area that didn’t have preschool, Mr. Rogers was my first teacher,” said Stephanie Fritz, mission coordinator for Christian Formation in the Presbyterian Mission Agency. “Looking back, I think he was also a first pastor for many children as he embodied the Christian life in a way children connected to.”

The Office of Christian Formation has compiled a pair of QuickSheets called “Fast and Fabulous Ideas for Ministry” to assist congregations in remembering and engaging in the work and life of Fred Rogers.

By Gerry Klauber, Elder

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