Presbyterians Today

JUN-JUL 2018

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36 JUNE/JULY 2018 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay A year of 'boondocking' builds bonds BY NETTE MILLER W hen you hear about a congregation's hospitality, you might picture people greeting one another after Sunday services. Or you might picture people chatting around a table in the fellowship hall during a church potluck. Chances are, you wouldn't picture people delivering dog toys and dish towels to a camper parked in the church's parking lot. But that's just what my husband and I experienced when we stumbled upon the incredible hospitality of Dailey Ridge First Presbyterian Church in Norwood, a historic church nestled in a bucolic village of just 1,592 people in upstate New York. In late June 2017, the small congregation, with an average Sunday atten- dance of 12, grew their population by two — well, three. The members — who included veterans, retired teachers, homemakers and farmers — opened their arms to welcome my new husband, Kyle, me and our friendly canine, Chaco. Our story begins We were adventurous newlyweds who saw the world through rose-colored glasses. I was in upstate New York attending graduate school at Clarkson University in Potsdam, and my husband was completing his university courses online while working as a substitute teacher. It was my notion to spend the first year of marriage in a camper, and my husband supported the wild idea. We anticipated a challenging winter, but decided we would take it week by week. Kyle and I had been attending worship at Dailey Ridge for a couple of months when we first shared our plans of living at a campground. A church, a camper and a couple in need

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