Monday, July 6, 2009

Celebrating America in the heart of Amish Country

Bruce and I had a wonderful last minute (surprise) visit to Lancaster, PA this weekend.

Photo courtesy of Next Autos.

Most of you know that Bruce and I met through a leadership program at Lancaster Theological Seminary called Leadership Now. Courtney Harvey, the co-director of the program, is getting ready to fly off (quite literally) to attend a one year program at the London School of Economics. This will put an end to her six/seven (I've lost count) years of herding aspiring and enthusiastic youth into confident and brilliant leaders. Her co-director Jacquie (by the way - these are all really good friends of ours, but for story clarification purposes, I'm using official titles) asked Bruce and me at our wedding if we would like to fly up for a surprise party she was throwing Courtney at the end of their week long Leadership Academy.

A chance to be reunited with our wonderful Leadership Now family to celebrate a major milestone in the life of someone we love and admire? And to do so in the middle of corn fields, cow manure and horse & buggies?

She didn't need to ask us twice!!

It was a phenomenal weekend. We flew out Friday early evening, getting into Harrisburg International around 8:15. Kari picked us up at the airport (she and Cameron had driven up from North Carolina that morning/afternoon) and we drove to the seminary where the party had already begun. Not only were Courtney, Jacquie and all of the new students from the week there, but there were also previous students & staff that I knew from when I worked events in college and it was so great to see everyone!! I got a lot of "oh my gosh, you're married!!" from people but I think everyone quickly realized that not much has changed for us in the three weeks since we've tied the knot. We're still Bruce & Sarah - we watch Friends a lot, insist on doing things ourselves and dream about how we're going to fix the world.

We had a mini - Fourth of July celebration at Kari's parents house - Cameron and Bruce grilled, Kari and I went in the hot tub, the boys shot off fireworks and I blessed everyone with an off-key rendition of "I'm Proud to Be an American." It wasn't anything special, but - in its own way - it was quite perfect.

It's strange ... lately people have been asking me where I would like to end up in a year when it's time for me to walk across the stage at Emory, be handed my diploma and seek a call. Up until this weekend, my first choice has always been with the Connecticut Conference. How can it not be? They've supported me spiritually and financially in my seminary endeavors. They (well, the Litchfield North Association) gave me the opportunity to represent them as a delegate at two General Synods. And I was born and raised in Connecticut. I lived, breathed and loved small town Connecticut life. I showed up to the church on a Fire Truck at my wedding for crying out loud!!

And yet ... when you drive through this ...

Photo courtesy of Planet Ware.

... and get to visit the still-running Strasburg Railroad, the oldest railroad in the country (is that right, Dan?) ...

Photo courtesy of Strasburg Railroad.

... it's hard to want to live anywhere else.

There is something so still and simple about Central Pennsylvania. Don't get me wrong - I love Connecticut and the surrounding areas. I love Southeastern Pennsylvania - where I spent four years of college and was also considering looking for churches.

But the beauty of my surroundings got to me this weekend. And it gave me a lot to think about.

Happy Fourth y'all!! Neal, Gib, Jason - I'm so proud of what you're doing for our country. I feel safer knowing our nation's military has people like you serving it.


  1. OH Sarah!! You should definitely settle in central PA. It's so gorgeous and Neal and I will be there. He'll be home so soon and you'll have to come up again to see him (and me!)

  2. YES YES YES COME LIVE IN PA! please? :)


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