In February this year Donald David McClanen died at age 91. Today, a memorial service was held for him a Dayspring Retreat Center in rural Maryland. His ashes were interred at the Lake of the Saints on the retreat center property where Don and Gloria lived with their family for much of their lives.
Don McClanen was a remarkable man. And one that changed my life.
On Dec. 7, 1995, 55 ministers and church workers were arrested in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol building for praying and proclaiming the words of the prophet Isaiah, “Woe to the legislators of infamous laws, to those who issue tyrannical decrees, who refuse justice to the unfortunate and cheat the poor among my people of their rights” (10:1-2). Down the halls, Congress was preparing to pass the most drastic cuts to welfare that the U.S. had seen in decades. Since nearly all of us could name someone that we personally knew who would suffer from such draconian “reform” we could do nothing less but bring the power of prayer to bear in that place of illusive worldly power.
After our arrest, we spend many hours held by the Capitol police in a large processing room with desks. Arrestees were paired off in twos, each handcuffed to the same desk until the officer came to process us.
I first met Don McClanen when we spend 6 hours handcuffed together in that police holding area in Advent 1995. I knew him by reputation–as the founder of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Washington LIFT, the Ministry of Money, a mover-and-shaker at the DaySpring Retreat Farm of Church of the Saviour in Maryland, as the inspiration behind the Triad Initiative, and much more–but had never spoken to him.
Since we were literally bound together, he turned to me and said: Rose, how is God moving in your heart? As if my whole spirit had been waiting for that question, my normally reticent self poured out a story about Bosnia.
December 1995 was the tail-end of the former Yugoslavia’s hot war. Since war broke out in 1992 I had been fixated on every detail. From my row house in D.C., I wept and prayed over the award-winning Washington Post articles from Srebrenica, Vukovar, and elsewhere.
Don’s response was, “I’ve made three trips into the war zone so far. On my next trip, I’m taking you with me.”