December 18, 2017 — New England Universities

I just had a delightful lunch with Nick Owens. Nick was unable to be at staff training earlier this month due to the birth of his second child. Mother and baby are fine, and Nick is thinking about the spring semester. His ministry at the University of Delaware is developing very well.

I spent most of last week in New England. My purpose was to visit campuses we are considering for new RUF ministries and to meet a couple of pastors. My first stop was breakfast with Rob Gray, pastor of Christ Community Church in West Hartford. I first met Rob in Pittsburgh where he was the associate pastor at City Reformed Church and chairman of the RUF committee of that presbytery. Rob grew up in Connecticut, so he has deep insights into ministry there.

Next stop was the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. I had never been to Amherst before, and found it to be a charming town, with two colleges on the Green, and UMass at the edge of town. I walked the campus in the rain and bought a fruit cup in the central food court. Opportunities for ministry are practically endless there. On to UMass at Lowell, the second largest UMass campus, and investing heavily in a rapid expansion.

UNH Original Building very smallThe next day I met with Jason Wakefield in Nashua, New Hampshire. Although Nashua is across the state line, it is only 15 minutes from Lowell. Jason is eager to plant a church and an RUF in Lowell, and we had a fascinating conversation over lunch. I had to tear myself away to get to the University of New Hampshire before dark, which happens at 4:00 or earlier in New England at this time of year. Most campuses are built around a lawn, but UMass surrounds a pond and UNH has a woods in its center. I walked through the woods, stopping at each building to warm myself along the way. It’s a beautiful campus, and the town of Durham is equally charming. The picture above is of the original university building. I’ve been hearing how wonderful Portsmouth is, 20 minutes away, so I spent the night there. I had dinner at the British Beer Company, a quaint establishment, especially on a cold night. I spent most of Thursday driving home.

Tomorrow I will meet with Michael Goodlin here in Bethlehem. Since he is in town, we did not meet in Denver. A few odds and ends in the office, and then the family will come pouring in on Wednesday.

May you be blessed in this Advent Season as we await the celebration of God made flesh to save us from our sins!

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