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The Reverend Vern Barnet, DMn
bio page    CRES minister emeritus

My Twilight Situation

Thank you for the compliment of your thinking that I have financial resources, time, or other ways to honor your worthy request. 

Many folks assume that I have certain capacities. I hope this frank "boilerplate" response will clarify my situation. 

Since leaving parish work in 1984, I have invested almost all of my resources in promoting interfaith understanding in the Kansas City area. Every cent of my pension and retirement funds are spent. Except for a small Social Security check, I have virtually no income. A small personal savings and tiny housing allowance are rapidly disappearing. (Compensation for work such as teaching, weddings, and  publications is usually paid directly to CRES, for which I am a full-time volunteer.) 

I live well below the poverty line. I can no longer can afford a car. I cut my own hair. I seldom go to movies, concerts, or other events unless the ticket is a gift. I have a rabbit ears antenna (no cable) for a TV given to me. I am exceedingly grateful for clothes, furnishings, meals, complimentary tickets, and courtesy dental and medical attention I've received. My modest home was in part the result of a gift, but it needs substantial repairs.

My 35-year old PDD son lives with me; he has not worked in years; I need to prepare him for life without me. 

I have no regrets about the personal and career adjustments involved these past 30 years. I do not see myself so much as having problems as having been given the opportunity to understand more fully how a segment of society deals with restricted resources. I do feel strangely privileged with this knowledge, but at times find it awkward when folks expect a financial ability of me that I no longer possess. 

I am delighted with the successful transfer of many CRES programs which I can no longer financially support to other organizations in the area as other steps toward refocusing CRES are taken.

CRES can no longer offer financial support for other worthy programs. 

Until I croak, I'll continue to consult, speak, and write, with several book projects in process. But now I have less time for networking and organizational activity and in light of my son's situation little ability to contribute to other causes.

So if you have asked me to make a contribution, buy something, query about networking, or request a commitment of time from me, please know that while I would want to support your efforts, at this point in the aging process (I'm older than I look! -- thank you!), this is why I decline.  I do wish you the very best.

And if you are seeing this after reservations for an event to which you have invited me are closed, it is because I would not want to be understood as hinting for free admission. 

Vern Barnet 

A humorous NYTimes column about poor hearing.