Bio – Pastor Jeff Scott “The Long and Not so Short of It”
I grew up in Southeastern Massachusetts with many formative boyhood adventures taking place on and around the ocean of Buzzards Bay near Cape Cod and the Islands. Adventure and recreation, in their fullest sense, are central to my being and my theology.
My faith formation took place in the small neighborhood Congregational (and UCC) Church in a rural town rapidly becoming suburbanized. Much of our family’s life revolved around the church in a very holistic way – through Sunday school, Bazaars, Boy Scouts, apple wars and sports in the adjoining fields, high school fellowship, getting to know each family and minister who served our church. In my growing up years, the small neighborhood community church was my operative model.
Abe Lincoln era
As the fields and woods became settled and developed, I was drawn, even as a teen, to the state of Maine for its wilderness and all it offered, including high school and college – attending Bowdoin College (BA History Minor Economics) on the coast, there. At Bowdoin, I lived on an Island senior year, making it difficult to study! During that time I hiked, camped, and discovered the lesser known western mountains and lakes.
Upon graduation, much to my parent’s dismay, jobs few and far between, I indulged my love of those wild places. I purchased a 40 acre tract of semi-wilderness land for a song and proceeded to relocate and settle in the Western Mts. There, I built a log home off the land. This was in the late 1970’s when the back to the land movement was popular and I jokingly call this my “Abe Lincoln era”.
Seeds and Call to Ministry
This led eventually to work in construction, recreation directing, property management and project development at large destination ski area and raising a family. In my mid-thirties, based on some crisis moments with death and divorce, I experienced what might be termed a “recommitment of faith”. Or you might call it a Maine version of a Damascus Road experience.
During that watershed time I embraced the seeds of faith sown throughout my growing up years. They had lain fallow for periods, increasingly ready for tending and nurture. During that time, I was blessed to find a church home, pastors and mentors who encouraged and challenged me in a growing sense of call to service and ministry.
Ministry at MATE (Mission at the Eastward – Maine)
Over the course of the next thirteen years (’93-’06) I learned to juggle a lot! While I pursued my M-Div at Bangor Seminary part-time and ordination as Presbyterian minister (’99), I shared parenting my three children; ran a business (building inspection and consulting); served two small churches and directed summer camp as part of 1/2 and 2/3 time calls during that time.
Throughout this time I was blessed to find myself immersed in a most wonderful laboratory for ministry – Mission at the Eastward. MATE, as a cooperative parish of 8 rural churches, has been a denominational model within the Presbyterian Church since the 1950’s. Time and again we discovered that we could accomplish more together than any one church could ever hope to do alone, in a region with tough challenges.
Cooperation, ecumenism, and the importance of mission became part of my DNA in those years; as did a thirteen year stint in camp directing and recreational ministry. Likewise, was the call to be a “tentmaking” pastor throughout the period. The bi-vocational model of holding down a regular job as well as serving as a minister was a great fit for me and the congregations I served. During those years, I was a member of the Association of Presbyterian Tentmakers (APT) and advocate for alternative models of ministry as well as the MATE way of doing ministry together.
The move to the “frontier” in Creede
In 2006, still thirsting for what adventures God may have in store, Hilda and I decided that we should explore ministry opportunities in Colorado. Before leaving on a vacation trip west, with a nod to my congregational background, I had the good fortune to connect with the Rocky Mt. Conference Minister. He offered,“you may consider checking out this wonderful place called Creede with its Community (congregational) Church.” His words rang true every day ministering there as I accepted the call. It proved to be a wonderful 8 year “ride” and a perfect match for my gifts and passions!
In time, Hilda and I knew we eventually wanted to follow our hearts back east, closer to most of our five children and all of our grandchildren (recently became 3!). Accordingly, we purchased a home in Gilmanton that we wanted to be our new “home base”. Hilda was able to relocate and start a new position in the fall of 2014 while I finished up my ministry in Colorado and followed her three months later.
So here we are in NH, near friends and family and in a new, exciting faith community!
In West Lebanon and in Christ – Jeff and Hilda
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