In every community, there are a few I people who, from the beginning, have guided and kept it on solid footing through their tireless commitment to the community's life.
It could be said that Sojourners Community came to birth when Jim Wallis asked Joe Roos 18 years ago in a dormitory at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School outside Chicago, "Where do we get the sheets for the beds?" Each was the first person the other met when they arrived at the seminary campus.
In the years since, every one of us in the community has benefited from Joe's patience and willingness to listen, sound economic advice, and endless overtime hours to keep the community and magazine financially afloat as he has served us as a pastor, publisher, and administrator. We decided at Christmas he needed to be rewarded in an astronomical way.
Joe is the only person at Sojourners who wrote a master's thesis titled "Some Characteristics of Multiple-tornado-producing Thunderstorms in Missouri from 1964 to 1968." His love for storms and stars and all things atmospheric is well-known around the community.
Last July, while celebrating his birthday at our favorite Mexican restaurant, Jim and I asked Joe what his hopes for the next year were. Joe's eyes lit up as he said he wanted a telescope -- a great big one with which he could see quasars and planets and nebulae.
On our salaries, such possessions are as out of reach as the stars, but Joe was determined to save, little by little by little, until some day he might have the telescope of his dreams. (The last one he had was a little two-and-a-half-inch refractor his parents gave to him when he was 9; he took it apart to clean it one day and never could get it back together again.)