Pastor Nathan Wright, pictured with wife, Johanna, and children Ellie, 2, Josiah, 4, and William, 6, moved into the Londonderry Presbyterian Church's Avery House Friday morning. The family was facing homelessness earlier this summer after their landlord told them they'd have to move, but the church provided them with a home on the church campus. (April Guilmet)
Church provides home for pastor in need
LONDONDERRY — Nathan Wright’s new home is truly where his heart is.
On Friday morning Wright, a part-time pastor, his wife Johanna and their children moved into the Avery House, located on the campus of the Londonderry Presbyterian Church.Wright, who is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at the London School of Theology, said his family’s living situation had appeared pretty bleak earlier this summer.
The Wright family, including the couple’s children — William, 6, Josiah, 4, and Ellie, 2 — had previously been living in a two-bedroom apartment in Peabody, Mass. But about two months ago, the family was informed by their landlord that they’d soon have to find a new place to live.
“The landlord needed to move in,” said Nathan Wright, who holds several degrees from Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.
Having served as a guest preacher in Londonderry on various occasions this past year, Wright said all the new friends he’s made at the historic Pillsbury Road church truly came through for him in his time of need.
“As a doctoral student, I’ve been quite busy,” said Wright, who expects to complete his degree in 2016. “But God works the timing out. And it worked out perfectly.”
Now that he’s living, literally, across the parking lot from the Presbyterian Church, Wright said he expects to be serving on the Londonderry pulpit several Sundays each month.
Living on the church campus will also allow him to help out in other ways.
“If a situation arises where someone needs pastoral services, I’m right over here,” he said with a grin.
Rev. Dr. Sara Singleton, part-time supply pastor at Londonderry Presbyterian, said the church is allowing the family to stay at the Avery House rent-free in lieu of Wright’s preaching presence.
A small monthly stipend paid by the church assists Wright with tuition costs.
Singleton said the four-bedroom home had served as a parsonage many years ago, but most recently it was used as the Avery Ministry Center.
The center housed various support groups, as well as Hope for N.H., a grant-based outreach initiative for multiple recovery services.
About six weeks ago, those programs were moved into the church building.
“It gave us some time to repair and renovate the interior for the Wright family,” Singleton said.
Longtime parishioner Lucille Robbins said she’s pleased as can be to have some new church neighbors.
“Really, everyone is pretty excited about it,” Robbins said. “This family needed a place to live, and it turned out, we had one right where Nathan works. It just doesn’t get any better than that.”