Tribute to Two Heroes

In the South, we’d say, “They’re good folks.”

Ken and Sandy Hale invested 31 years in the frozen Yankee northland, ministering to Dartmouth students, professors, athletic staff, and nearby neighbors in Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire.

Once upon a time, Ken was a young Minister of Music at a Baptist church in Kentucky and Sandy was a schoolteacher. They felt a call (a good Baptist word going back to Father Abraham) to a far land where natives speak a variation of the English language. They arrived in New Hampshire under the auspices of Southern Baptists, but those not-so-good folks changed their mind and decided they didn’t like the idea of women ministers. They withdrew their financial support from Ken and Sandy.

Ken and Sandy didn’t warm to the notion of being told what they could do or not do. The state motto of New Hampshire, after all, is “Live Free or Die.”

Ken and Sandy developed their own support system and stayed, faithful to their calling.

They have been beloved friends and mentors to hundreds of people who came through the Ivy League campus and/or their small congregation. Sandy was primarily the campus minister and Ken was primarily the preaching pastor.

They built the most racially inclusive church I know of anywhere. New Hampshire doesn’t have an abundance of people of color, but Dartmouth College does, and Trinity Baptist Church has become the spiritual home of many of them. Black Lives Matter!

Now (December 31, 2015, more or less) Ken and Sandy Hale have officially retired.

The consensus of everyone who knows them is that they are kind, compassionate and competent. They are stable, faithful, authentic Christians. In an era when many so-called Christians give Jesus a bad name, Ken and Sandy have been wonderful ambassadors for Christ. They are valued members of their New Hampshire community and will be missed here.

They became my friends when they were asked to represent the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of the Northeast in the same capacity I held in South Carolina. I was paid a salary. They weren’t. In fact, they weren’t always paid a salary for any of their assignments. Period. Yet, they persevered because they believed God put them here to do a job.

A few years ago, Sandy had a brain aneurysm and Ken had cancer. They slowed down but didn’t stop.

Now, they have retired, but leaving is difficult. Sandy was going to be gone before I arrived and Ken and I were to overlap for a few days. Sandy was not gone when I arrived and I had to kick her out of her own house. (Just kidding. She left voluntarily.) I’m sure I will have to shoo Ken away next week. Their first stop will be Kentucky to live for a while with Ken’s mother. Then they are off to Ft. Meyers, Florida, where they have a small condo.

They haven’t sold their New Hampshire house because I’m living in it. Besides, they have a son nearby, and they’re not sure where they will eventually reside.

They are grieving and the church is grieving. Like an idiot, here I am in the middle of this difficult transition with the weird assignment of being a “Bridge to an Interim.” Only two things have concerned me about this assignment: 1) The weather; 2) Following Ken and Sandy. The weather will be hard. Following Ken and Sandy will be impossible.

Good, incomparable souls.

Categories: Faith/Spirituality, Family, Race, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Tribute to Two Heroes

  1. Very nicely done, Marion.

  2. Anonymous

    Marion, We are glad that you arrived safely and are praying that things will go well with you and the church in New Hampshire. We will miss you-please stay in touch. Love, RD and Sherry

  3. If the weather begins to scare you, call your daughter – she will help you through it! 😉 You are on your own with the congregation, though…bless your heart!

    Glad you’ve arrived safely!

  4. Anonymous

    Thank you for keeping us informed. I always enjoy your posts.

  5. Anne Walker

    Marion: Those folks are so blessed to have you as their interim. I love your posts. Keep writing. God bless.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  6. Nice tribute

  7. JEarl

    Inspiring.

  8. Steve Vassey

    Few of us pay much attention to bridges as we pass over them, but they’re still essential. They must be made of study stuff and they may not always be the focal point in the scenery flowing by. But without them, we cannot reach our ultimate destination. I can’t think of a better person to help the congregation span this transition.

  9. Anonymous

    Marion! Please keep me on this list. I love trying to guess what you are going to do next!! Yeah, Keep on adventuring but try to stay warm.

  10. Dottie Boatwright

    Oh please, keep me on your list. I love trying to guess what you are going to do next!! Keep on adventuring but try to stay warm.

  11. Vicky McCullough

    Beautiful tribute, Marion. I am sure that Ken and Sandy are not really retired just moving on to what God has planned for them now. Prayers are with them and you.

  12. Anonymous

    I’m looking forward to reading more of your experiences in the coming months.

  13. Cordelia Huggins

    Several things;
    Framingham is lovely. One of our sons and his family lived there for 2 years.

    The importance of bridges has been deeply imbeded in my brain since the bridge very near our home was destroyed in the “great flood of 2015”. Now we must travel a longer distance to get to anywhere! Bridges aid us in crossing over the difficult spots on the road and in life.
    How blessed is the church to have you for their bridge!

    Do keep me on your list–I enjoy your blogs!

  14. Bryce Smith

    A good report. Keep up the good work and keep me informed. May God be with you.
    Thanks, Bryce

  15. Would love to get in touch with Sandy and Ken. My son went to Dartmouth and became very close to Sandy and Ken as well as their 2 sons. Please let me know a contact address or telephone number where I can communicate with them. I am Virginia Selden in Brandon MS and my son is Mace (Mason) Turner who now lives in California. Great article!!

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