November 26, 2019 — New England

Last Monday Ruth and I set out for Connecticut and stopped along the way in Port Chester, NY to visit Craig and Ann Higgins. I’ve known Craig since he was the RUF minister at Georgia Southern. He’s now pastor of Trinity Presbyterian in Rye, NY. Ann is the Development Director for some Christian camps in New Hampshire and Maine which they hope to introduce to RUF. We had a wonderful lunch, then headed to Manchester, CT for a pleasant dinner with Lucas and Maggie Dourado. I spent most of Tuesday with Lucas and his intern while Ruth visited with Maggie and the children. I ended the day with a men’s Bible study at UConn.

When I visited the Southern New England Presbytery in September, someone urged me to contact a pastor in Massachussetts who would be interested in our hopes to start RUF at UMass. Wednesday morning Ruth and I drove to Amherst and took a quick tour of the town and university before lunch with Michael Hill. Michael is newly arrived in Massachussetts and has taken a small church north of Amherst. We had a pleasant lunch, then drove back to Amherst for a tour of Emily Dickinson’s house. Our goal was to spend the night at Portsmouth, where we arrived after a rainy, tiring drive.

The main event on Thursday was lunch with the RUF committee of the Northern New England Presbytery to discuss plans to start RUF at Southern New Hampshire University. We had a very productive meeting and concluded that it seems more likely that we will have to wait until 2021 to get everything ready to begin this ministry.  The true highlight of the day was Ruth’s birthday dinner at the British Beer Company.

Ruth had agreed to join me on a trip to Portland (Maine), which is what she thought I said when I invited her to Portsmouth (New Hampshire). We loved Portsmouth! Its colonial charm lived up to its reputation. But with Portland only another hour north and nothing urgent on the weekend, we decided to continue up the coast and spend the weekend in Portland.

Ruth’s birthday on Friday began with the hotel losing my car keys. Fortunately Ruth had brought along hers. After an hour’s delay in search of the keys, the hotel said they would pay for a replacement set and we drove off to Durham to see the University of New Hamshire. UNH is a beautiful campus, and since it was only 20 minutes out of our way, I wanted to show it to Ruth. It was raining again, but we toured the campus then headed to Portland. Saturday was mild and sunny. We had a wonderfully relaxing Friday and Saturday exploring Portland, which we also loved.

One big plus to staying the weekend in Maine was that we were able to worship at Church of the Redeemer in Manchester – the church which will be the base for RUF at SNHU. It is a warm congregation and Ruth and I turned down an offer of a pumpkin maple dish in order to begin the long journey home, most of which was in the rain – again!

The hotel found our keys and sent them yesterday. This week I need to outline the winter quarter Sunday School lessons. Tomorrow we head to Morgantown to spend Thanksgiving with Peter and his family.

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