Allie and I grew up in New England and met at a Christian boarding school in Dublin, NH. We both attended college in South Carolina , and decided to settle there after we married in 1993. Though the South provided many advantages for a family starting out, we always had a special place in our hearts for New England. While self-employed in the first couple of years of our marriage, I volunteered as a music director at a church plant in Piedmont , SC. I had a desire for vocational music ministry, and through various circumstances ended up serving in youth and music ministry at Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Easley, SC. Shortly after I began working at Covenant, my former pastor invited me to attend some classes at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. Those first classes began a process that culminated in my Master of Divinity from RTS in 2003 (8 years and 2 children later).
I began praying about where God would have me go, if anywhere, and my love for New England began to be transformed into a call to serve there someday. Because of the shortage of PCA churches in New England, I began to pursue church planting. Allie and I went to the PCA Church Planting Assessment Center in January 2003 to confirm (or deny) that we were called to this kind of ministry. We were qualified with the understanding that I would do an apprenticeship with a PCA pastor in New England . Through a relationship my pastor had with him, Doug Domin from First Presbyterian Church in Concord, NH, agreed to oversee my apprenticeship. I began the long, arduous process of developing a ministry plan, fundraising and ordination. Through the sacrifice of many people and God’s amazing providence, we saw about a quarter of a million dollars raised in six months. Though short of our goal, it was enough to get us on our way, and we packed up our “big yellow truck” and two cars (with some gracious friends who offered to drive with us) and set out on New Year’s Day, 2004.
We arrived in Goffstown, NH, and began the next stage of our journey. I served at FPC in various areas including music, teaching SS, preaching, mercy ministry and administration. As we did so, we began settling in the Manchester area, thanks to God’s provision of a home in the city in June, 2004. The Lord began to bring people into our lives who, unbeknownst to us, He had been preparing to join us in this mission. In September of 2004 we held an information meeting at First Baptist Church in Manchester with a brief overview of the mission, vision and values of what would become Church of the Redeemer. We started two studies (the material would become our “foundations” study for new members) in our home with ten families, eight of which would go on to become the founding families of CTR . We began holding monthly “fellowship nights” that gradually morphed into mini-worship services. The Lord provided an office on Prospect street in February and the Manchester Community Music School for worship in April after a long search for a facility. We held our launch service on April 10, 2005 at 6:00 p.m. On June 5, 2005, we switched to morning worship services at 10:30 a.m.
We know that from the beginning, this has been an undertaking far too large for any human being(s) to handle. We are convinced that God began this church before the foundation of the world, and He deserves the glory for all that she does to build his kingdom.