A Shepherd in Sneakers

Celebrating the ministry of Fred Rogers

The world was Wesley’s parish.
A neighborhood would be yours.
And for forty years you’ve welcomed us
from your make-believe front door.

You don’t wear the usual vestments
(a collar and a cross).
A cardigan and sneakers
serve your pastoral purposes.

The songs you write are “sacred.”
They celebrate the worth
that God has given every child
by nature of their birth.

Your puppet scripts are sermons
in which you share “good news”
to encourage those who trust you,
the neglected and abused.

Mister Rogers, you’re a pastor.
A shepherd? Yes, indeed!
With gentleness, meekness and mercy,
you carry the lambs that you lead.

*This tribute was sent to Fred Rogers in 1997. He replied to the poet with gratitude in a handwritten note.