Visit to Covenant Chapel in Basking Ridge, NJ

Basking Ridge, New Jersey is the farthest east we have visited in our quest for senders. We were given a very kind invitation by Fr. Greg Miller to speak at Covenant Chapel (REC) during the Sunday school hour, and for Matt to give the sermon in the service.

Fr. Greg and his wife Lori welcomed us into their home around 8:30 PM, on a night when their daughter Esther was starting her first job. Like so many of our hosts past — the Crums in Catonsville, MD, the Jones family in Groton, NY — they put us up in their home in such a way that we wondered where they found to sleep themselves. Naomi and Isaiah were the kids accompanying us on this trip, and they were delighted with the Miller family’s collection of classic children’s books. Our kids went to bed around 9:30, but Fr. Greg and Lori stayed up conversing with us until 11:00. We arose to the finest breakfast we’ve had on any of our trips: French toast and bacon by Mrs. Miller.

Fr. Greg gave us the entire Sunday school time to present our mission. One of these days, we’ll record it for you with the slides. In the Holy Communion service, Fr. Greg kindly entrusted his pulpit to me. I did a reprise of my sermon on “Spit and the Love of Christ,” which you can download here.

Obligatory vestments shot:

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After the service, we were treated to lunch in the fellowship hall, where we discovered that parishioners Jim and Josephine Tyne were also friends with the Rev. Steve Schlissel and Craig Brann. (Indeed, I recalled James’ name from some past articles at Messiah’s website.) Pastor Steve, for those who don’t know, was instrumental in matching us with each other back in 1999.

Facing a 10 hour drive back to Cincinnati, we probably should have gone home after the fellowship dinner, but we couldn’t resist the chance join the congregation for its annual hike at Hacklebarney Park. I had naively assumed that all of New Jersey was one gigantic sprawling suburb of New York City, so I was amazed to see gorges, rocks, and waterfalls like those in Ithaca. And everything was arrayed in fall foliage. Naomi and Isaiah had a great time climbing the rocks for an hour before we had to take our leave and let our hosts go on up the trail for the rest of their hike. And no, nobody fell in.

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This final shot shows Fr. Greg, who is wearing a coveted REC polo shirt, and Matt, who is wearing a maple leaf hung upon him by the subversively Canadian Sora!

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Thank you, Fr.Greg, Lori, and Esther for your hospitality. Thank you, Covenant Chapel for receiving us so warmly and hearing our words with enthusiasm.

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