Editor’s note: On August 15th, renowned Chicago author, speaker, and activist Andrew Lyke—co-founder with his wife of Arusi Network and Lyke & Lyke, LLC—announced his resignation from ministry, which he termed a “stepping back so that others may step in”. Below is the letter he sent to supporters.
Dear colleagues, clients, and friends,
After much discernment over the past two years, I have come to the decision to exit my ministry efforts in the Church. As you may know, I have been battling acute myeloid leukemia since the summer of 2015. That personal campaign diverted my attention to basic survival. After a relapse in 2017, I underwent a bone marrow transplant, which effectively rid me of my cancer concerns but introduced another set of issues, including a compromised autoimmune system.
Ironically, it was in 2020 with the COVID-19 pandemic that my health took a sharp turn for the better. Very quickly my energy, focus, and clarity of mind were restored. Terri and I went into high gear with some virtual webinars for marriage enrichment, as we were excited to re-enlist ourselves in this work we love.
I was invited to collaborate with Evangelist Michael Howard and Eat The Scroll Ministry for several virtual prayer services, and the Catholic anti-racism activism which I had resumed more than a year earlier became energized after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breanna Taylor, and the blatant racial disparities in health care that had been exposed by the pandemic.
To say the least, the past 20 months have been rich with ministry initiatives. And for that I am very grateful.
However, the long battle back to restored health has shifted my vocational aspirations. Ironically, cancer’s challenges were also blessings. Three of my six grandchildren were born during that time. The long hospitalizations took me into a more intimate walk in the Spirit, and the calling of that same Spirit now beckons me to turn my attention away from ministry efforts in Catholic family life and Black Catholic leadership, and to attend to living my best life with my family and close friends.
I have struggled with accepting this instigation of the Spirit, especially with the Catholic anti-racism efforts. The work of the past nearly two years has given me the opportunities to speak up with timeliness. The proverbial iron is hot, and I have been happy to contribute to the Church’s mission in this peculiar moment in history. I have been enriched by and grateful for those opportunities and it’s comforting to exit on that note. I was inspired by Simone Biles’ decision to take care of herself in the 2021 Olympics.
Whatever the amount of time I have left on this side of life, I will spend it taking care of myself, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I walk into a new season in which I will continue to grow and become and walk even more intimately with the Spirit.
It’s been a wondrous adventure in professional and volunteer ministry over the past 40+ years and I am blessed to have served with folks like you on that journey. To those whom I have served, it was my privilege. To those with whom I have collaborated, you have increased me. To those who have mentored and nurtured me on the journey, I treasure our associations through the years. Thank you!
Please continue to pray for me as I embrace restored health in a new chapter of my life, as you did when I was gravely ill. May the continued work you do for the People of God be guided by the Spirit and animated by Jesus the Christ.
Your brother in Christ,
Andrew Lyke is an author, poet, relationship coach, and retired ministry consultant. With his wife Terri, he founded Arusi Network, a national apostolate for Black Catholic marriage. He is the former director of the Office for Black Catholics and the former coordinator of Marriage Ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago. In October, he & Terri will celebrate 46 years of marriage.