Mandy and I returned last night from our trip to Hampton Falls, NH. We had a good trip, and I think the interview went well. Mandy and I have about two(ish) weeks to process and pray while they do the same at the church. So, sometime around the end of next week (23rd, give or take) we should hear back from the search committee to see if they want to continue to proceed. If so, we will travel up to First Baptist again and interview with the Church Council, who will then vote on whether or not to extend a call.
That about sums up the weekend. If you want a more verbose explanation of our time in Hampton Falls, read on!
Friday: Mandy and I arrive and checked into the Hotel around 3:30 Friday afternoon. That gave us some time to get settled and “freshen up” after the drive before heading to the church. We got there around 5:30 and started setting things up for the events, some might call them, festivities. The Friday night event went, in my opinion, well. In fact, there’s really not much I would change if I take into account the fact that it was planned in two weeks, a time frame I would call – under other circumstances – foolhardy. The event concluded at approximately 9o’clock, and Dan (the Pastor of Education) encouraged Mandy and I to head back to the hotel and get some sleep. We obliged.
Saturday: Saturday was busy. We started out by breaking our fast with the search committee. From there we proceeded to the senior pastor’s house where we were ushered into his van for an informal sight-seeing trip around the area. A fact that had been lost on me until this point was that there is, in fact, a nuclear power plant about five minutes from the church. The beach is also rather near, at something like three minutes. After our introduction to the area, the senior pastor brought us back to his house where we met with him and his wife. We had a rather length discussion with them, and then were returned to the care of Dan. At this point Mandy and I were split up. One might call this strategy, divide and conquer. For us, it was more akin to, “Oh goodness, more meetings!” But all went well, and Mandy had a good time meeting with Dan’s wife. I met with Dan during this time and also would count my meeting as having gone well. After this we were released from any obligations until 6PM, so we went to find a late lunch. We stumbled upon a Friendly’s, which is to say a store that is not locally owned and founded and therefore entirely suspect to us, at this point, regarding their menu and fare. We then returned to the hotel where I proceeded to struggle through some issues with my baggage dealing with confident people and leaders. Having battled my demons we set out to have dinner with the entire youth staff (some twenty persons total). Once the cookies were finished and all the questions had been asked (some for the third time) we retired for the night. Yet even this could not be done without first setting our clocks ahead. This is, for those who do not live in the US, an annual ritual in which our government mandates our participation. Having performed the required libations to the gods of the clock, we slept.
Sunday: We began the day by loading our car and checking out of the hotel. We then proceeded to have breakfast with Dean, the Pastor of Outreach and Mentoring (a meeting with him had been scheduled for Saturday, but he had been required to cancel due to a business trip that made him unavailable). This meeting went well, I thought, and gave Mandy and I some more insight into how the church “ticks.” As an aside, the restaurant had not yet set their clocks forward and this annoyed me. Now, back on topic! We arrived at the church around 9AM and I prepared to teach Sunday School (which begins at 9:30). I am satisfied with how my lesson went, which is saying something since I’m normally quite hard on myself. It felt good to teach again. After Sunday School we attended morning worship (they had an pipe organ and hand-bell choir!). As the final hymn was being sung we hastened out the back of the auditorium – at the behest of Dan – and set upon our journey home, after first obtaining lunch.
Also, Mandy and I stopped on our way home and met Qohelet and MrsQohelet (and their children, who, I have learned, have the maps of every Pokemon game stored in the memory ready ready to be retreived at a moments notice). We had a blast talking with them, and I hope to be able to repeat the event at undefined future juncture. Also, MrsQohelet had the best phrase I’d heard all weekend, and I can’t remember it! Something about neurological something or another. Great fun.
We finally arrived home at around 9:30 and promptly fell into bed. Today I have been compared to a walking zombie, and alternatively to a peach(?).