I was born in New England. I grew up in New Hampshire (part of New England for those whose knowledge of geography is fuzzy). I became a Christian while attending college in New England. My formative years as a Christian were in New England. When I left home in 1991 to attend seminary in Florida, my intention was to return to the area. God had other plans for me (sort of like how Paul was sent to the Gentiles instead of his fellow Jews), but I still have a heart for New England (much to the frustration of some friends) and long to see the Reformed church return to New England. The PCA and OPC are trying to plant churches in the region.
I know that New England is a hard field to plow. The people’s hearts are often like the ground there. We used to kid about how our gardens grew rocks. Zoning boards are not very friendly to new churches. It is a very secular area, having been burned out thanks to the liberalization of the grand old denominations that were there.
Back in 2005 (?), the PCA planted a church in Manchester, NH called Church of the Redeemer. It is the largest city in the state (I hate to admit), and now the home of the CavParents and one brother. It is strategic in the church planting plans of our denomination. They have lived a semi-nomadic life, like many a church plant. They met in a music school before they had to move thanks to the zoning laws. They currently meet on the 3rd floor of an Islamic Center of Manchester. Only 3 of the 10 PCA churches in Northern New England have buildings.
But ministries are expanding (a great problem to have) and they just don’t have the space. Real estate is quite expensive in Manchester, as it is in much of New England. On a trip home a few years ago, while seeking a new call I checked the prices of homes and pretty much ruled out a return. They need a visible location, not one on the outskirts of town among the trees.
Just recently a Kingdom Hall went on the market. It was built in 1991, is in a visible location on the south side of Manchester and at a reasonable price, a mere $450k. They already have $110k in the building fund, but need $180k to make an offer (yes, no guarantees!).
They sent a letter to the churches in the PCA asking for assistance. As Presbyterians (of the conservative kind) we are a connectional church. That should be more than just a legal formality. If we actually helped each other, many of the smaller churches and plants would be able to make significant strides in gospel ministry. The church I pastor now knows the pinch of insufficient facilities. If just half of the churches gave $100, the say, they’d have the money they need. Our church is going to help.
But I thought, “why just ask churches?” Perhaps there are readers of my blog or friends on Facebook that have a heart for the gospel in New England. Perhaps some of them would like to send some money their way this month or next. The more they have now, the less they have to borrow and the more they can put toward ministry if (when, I say) they get the new facility.
So, are you willing to spare a gospel-preaching church in New Hampshire a few dollars? If so, here is how:
To give on line
To mail a check-
Church of the Redeemer
228 Maple St.
Manchester, NH 03103