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On the Bright Side

September 11, 2013

Church program helps dads, families connect

A new program kicked off at the West Oneonta Baptist Church on Tuesday that seeks to help men communicate messages of love and encouragement to their loved ones through letter writing.

West Oneonta Baptist Church Pastor Tim Thurber said that he and his parishioners decided to host a “Letters from Dad” program at their church after attending a men’s retreat in Albany this spring and hearing its creator, Greg Vaughn, speak.

Thurber described the program as, “An opportunity for men ... to connect with their children, their spouses, their parents, if they’re still living.”

The “Letters from Dad” program was created by Vaughn, an Emmy Award-winning television producer, nine years ago, after his father died.

Said Vaughn: “I know my father loved me; he just had one little problem, he couldn’t say it.”

Vaughn also said that he regretted not having his father’s signature, and that he wished his father had left him a letter.

This inspired Vaughn to gather together 12 of his friends. They met four times over the next four months and wrote four groups of letters of love and blessing: one to their wives, one to their children, one to their parents and one to be read after they die.

On the letter to be read after a man’s passing, Vaughn said: “On the darkest night of our kids, our family’s life, there would be a letter from us to them.”

Vaughn said that the response to the first session of the program was very positive.

Speaking of the wives of the first 12 men, Vaughn said: “They would say, ‘I don’t know what you did to my husband, but please keep doing it.’”

Vaughn said that the next time the program was run it attracted 130 people, the time after that 350, and the time after that 700. Vaughn then wrote a book, “Letters From Dad,” and created a formal program to be run out of churches.

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