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December 7

New England Winter Evangelism

The summertime evangelistic ministry of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in New England is a well-documented story. During the first decade of our denominational life, students from Westminster Seminary would preach through the summer months in Maine, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. What is less known is the continuing work during those frigid winter months. Chairman John Murray reported for the New England Committee that during the winter of 1936-37, two men stayed to carry on the work. They were the Rev. Dean Adair and the Rev. Hobart Childs. In the years that followed, Rev. Adair and the Rev. Gerald Heersma continued covering seven different preaching places in and around Maine throughout the fall and winter. The committee report describes it as follows: “These two have been heroically carrying on, in spite of opposition, insufficient funds, and the rigors of New England weather. Their meagre allowance would scarcely suffice for one single man, but they, both married, have been willing to deny themselves in order that New England may have an opportunity to hear the Word of life.” Adair reported in September 1938 that “The most constructive work in the fields where it has been my privilege to serve has been the weekly catechism classes during the past year at Gorham, East Windham, West Cumberland and North Deering. The group at North Deering consisted of over 40 young people. Preaching services and Sunday schools are held there and at West Cumberland. Lovell, Stow and North Fryeburg were ably served for over a year, until June, by the Rev. Gerald A. Heersma, an appointee of the committee.” Rev. Adair continued his ministry in Maine until 1943. Rev. Heersma took a call in 1939 to the Cape Cod Congregational church in Chatham, Massachusetts.

Picture: Dean Adair

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