Quite a few years ago, I was asked to address the Saturday morning meeting of the Chester Ministerium, then headed by the late Joel McGee, a good friend and supporter of the CHA. The subject was Section 8 housing in the city, and it was prompted by some animosity coming from one of the member pastors. As any half-smart ED would do, I brought along my able Section 8 Director, one MARY MARGARET MILITELLO. With oversight of over 1,500 units of housing at any given time, everyone in town knows Mary and Mary knows her program inside and out.
Introductory remarks aside, I turned the mic over to Mary. “You all have your ministries. Section 8 is MY ministry,” she started out. Her clever opening got her their undivided attention. They then were enlightened by the proper dose of all the good Section 8 housing means for their parishioners and the city. The culminating moment for me came when the meeting was breaking up. The “member pastor” approached. It went something to the effect of an apology, and he and I remain good friends today. Mary won the Ministerium that Saturday as she did me.
In her career, Mary has brought her expertise and passion to cities the likes of Atlanta, New Orleans, and San Diego. She found Chester over a dozen years ago, healed a wounded program and stayed for the long haul to insure its good health. She has attracted and gained the confidence of quality landlords (she calls them investors); broken down and rebuilt her administrative staff time and again in search of the right combination of talent. The result: nine straight years of “high performer” ratings from the feds.