Friday, 26 November 2010

For Sale

The Revd. Bob Ginn, a colleague from Western Massachusetts days, sent me this photo' of the Church of the Good Shepherd, West Fitchburg, MA.

I served at Good Shepherd from 1976 -  1980, and was ordained Priest there in December 1976. They were four joy-filled years.  I left Good Shepherd to work on the staff of the Bishop of Western Mass., and to be Vicar of St. Christopher's in Chicopee, MA.

Hindsight suggests that I should have stayed longer, but I was starry eye'd at the prospect of being a member of Diocesan staff, and so I left.

The Good Shepherd congregation, much depleted in more recent years, has now joined forces with God's people at Christ Church, Fitchburg.  It was a wise move, but I feel a little sad as I see the "For Sale" sign.

The Church of the Good Shepherd

My immediate predecessor at the Church of the Good Shepherd was the Revd. DeWolf Perry.  He, and his wife Kitty became my  good friends.   I insisted that they should continue to worship at Good Shepherd after DeWolf's retirement soon after my "priesting". They did so, for our mutual joy and benefit.

They were terrific mentors.  So I spent many a good hour at their home at 48 Hubbardston Road in nearby Princeton, MA.
Now, by ironic coincidence, DeWolf and Kitty's children, Jim, Dain and Tinka have come to the inevitable and sad decision to sell the house.
It is a place of many memories. 
In true New England style I always entered through the back door. I spent many a  relaxed hour on the back porch, sipping iced tea, chatting gently, and enjoying the inevitable summer geraniums.
I spent even more hours inside the home; having a simple lunch or dinner; being directly mentored by DeWolf; and absorbing Kitty's wisdom.

I remember a lovely party there after the baptism of Tinka's first child, Ricky.
There is also a somber memory.  Dear DeWolf lay a-dying in a hospital in Worcester, MA.  Kitty was there with their children. I was there too.

Kitty could not bear to stay in the hospital.  So I drove her back home to 48 Hubbardston Road.  There we sat and waited for the 'phone call which would tell us that DeWolf had passed.  That call came in due course.

I adored Kitty, and will ever be humbled by the memory of sitting with her as we awaited the news of DeWolf's passing into life eternal.

48 Hubbardston Road, Front
48 Hubbardston Road, Rear
Interior 1
Interior 2

The Church building in Fitchburg, MA  called "The Church of the Good Shepherd" is now for sale.  48 Hubbardston Road, Princeton MA is also for sale.

I bid a sad farewell to these bricks and mortar.  They were vital shrines for me. In new ownerships they will never again be my homes.

But the blessed and holy memories of life, love and laughter in both places will sustain me until the moment of my death.


  1. Michael, many thanks for a fitting eulogy for these two homes. To deepen the irony, the house in Princeton entered family lore via Bishop Perry, our grandfather, who was then rector of Christ Church, Fitchburg. He was also the person who built the 'mission' church at Good Shepherd.

  2. "Feel I'm goin' back to Massachusetts,
    Something's telling me I must go home.
    And the lights all went out in Massachusetts
    The day I left her standing on her own."