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Rev. David Keller of Newbury atop Mount Liberty this fall. (COURTESY)

Skiing pastor finds right job at South Newbury Church

NEWBURY - At age 60, Rev. David Keller was looking for a new challenge, a ministry that needed him.

And he was hoping for a recreational benefit.

He's been a minister at churches in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maryland and Indiana, and he had led the First Congregational Church in Concord for the past 11 years.

The challenge was to find a new church where he could work part-time and still make a difference, a community-oriented church.

The situation was finding a place where he could enjoy his favorite recreational activity - skiing.

"Honestly, there were other churches that needed me, but recreation is an important part of our overall health, and none of the other churches had a ski mountain nearby," Keller said, referring to Mount Sunapee.

Most important, of course, was finding the right church. Keller had done some work with the South Newbury Church, a 60-member ministry that is the only church in South Newbury, and had enjoyed working with its past ministers.

"I knew of the South Newbury Church and was attracted to it," he said. "Small churches are the dominate expression of faith in this country, and this was a special small church."

He began as pastor of the church, a United Church of Christ, in October, and has been pleasantly surprised.

"What I didn't realize is how much this church is part of this community," he said, citing the this year's Children's Christmas pageant as an example of how important the church is to the town.

"We do so much in this town, in terms of services and volunteer work. This is a vital, active community that needs its church."

And he gets the side benefit he had hoped for. "I've been skiing Sunapee for the past four years," he said. "I must say I like the more flexible life I have now."

Churchgoers are glad to have him.

"There is an excitement in the church," said Deacon Gail Bostic. "Rev. Keller has brought many gifts and visions to this ministry, and we are very pleased."


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