The first parish where I served as a pastor was Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Coventry, CT. We lived there for five years, from 1986-1991. The other day I quickly jotted down a few memories that popped into my head.
- We had two Labrador retrievers, Gabriel (yellow) and Rachel (chocolate), plus two cats, Fred and Ginger. I would hit baseballs into the woods for the dogs to retrieve.
- I loved cutting and splitting firewood. Great exercise, and we loved the heat from the wood burning stove in the winter.
- The pews in the church had welded steel frames and wooden planks, crafted by some of the founders of the church. We had kneelers, too, which created quite a sound when they all fell to the floor at the same time for confession.
- I got my first personal computer in Connecticut. Monochrome display, 5-1/4 inch floppy disk, no internet at that time. I just used it for word processing.
- We often took the kids to the barns at the University of Connecticut. Most were open to the public, so we walked through rows of cows, pens full of sheep and goats, and fields filled with horses. The pigs were off-limits, though. Too many people tried to take the piglets. If we didn’t want to go to UConn, we just walk down the road to a small farm where horses, goats and chickens would come to greet us at the fence.
- We lived in the church parsonage which sat on four acres right next to another four acres where the church was located. My two oldest children and I would often walk what we call the “‘benture trail,” along the boundary of our property which ran right up to the woods.
- The obstetrician who brought our older daughter into the world forgave the part of our bill that insurance wouldn’t cover, in exchange for some “special intentions.” I was grateful, but to tell you the truth, I didn’t even know what that was. (They are intercessory prayers for someone, I think.)
- The parsonage was a two-story, five bedroom, 2-1/2 bath, 2,600 sq. ft. home with a full basement and garage beneath. We moved in with a baby (Adam was four months old), a bed, a dresser, a crib, a table and a couple of chairs. We never never came close to fully furnishing that house. We did buy some antique oak dressers that we are still using today.
- In the winter, those who smoked would stand in the narthex to stay warm, flicking ashes into the corner where they thought no one would notice.
- The church wasn’t that big, averaging about 70 per Sunday in attendance. I still remember a whole bunch of the names: Thurber, Edmonds, Garay, Jeram, Sheehan, Ultzen, Wiebusch, Sans, Dollak, Davis, Burger, Dwyer, Bement, Ausburger, Underwood and Potterton. (That’s amazing!)
Not bad recall for events from over thirty years ago!