Pastor Young returns to Goffstown Christian Fellowship
GOFFSTOWN — After an 18-year absence, Rev. Edward Young will return to the Goffstown Christian Fellowship as pastor in November, and he and his former parishioners are looking forward to bringing vitality back to the church.
The church will welcome Young at his first service as senior pastor on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 5 p.m., including a potluck supper; and a fellowship service on Sunday, Nov. 17, at 10:30 a.m., at the Goffstown Christian Fellowship, at 67 Henry Bridge Road.
Young and his wife of 46 years, Elva, had been with the church from 1971 to 1995. At the time, the congregation was known as the First Baptist Church of Goffstown, and attendance had risen in the hundreds under his leadership.
“We started with probably about 30 to 40 people. It stayed that way for a while, then we got up to about 300 to 400 folks. It was very exciting,” Young said.
After Young left, the church changed its name to Goffstown Christian Fellowship, and over the years attendance has dropped to less than a dozen parishioners.
Earlier this year, Young was in contact with some former parishioners who thought it was time for him to return. In a recent chain of events, he was called back to Goffstown.
“I was the music director at the church when Ed was there, and at the beginning of this year he and I started to consider him coming back into the area and starting something up with ’the old gang,’” said parishioner Rich Araldi. “We were thinking of a home church or renting a space. The circumstances surrounding the coming together of Ed and the Goffstown church have been quite remarkable.”
The church’s pastor, Rev. Robert A. Dix, recently resigned his post, leaving the church without a spiritual leader. At the same time, Young and his wife had been thinking about returning to New Hampshire.
“They asked me to come back, and they’re calling it a restart,” said Young.
On Father’s Day, Young was invited to do the service in Goffstown, and the church was packed.
“We had over 100 people. I said, ’Hmmm, maybe we have something here.’ We’re hoping to build it up to what it was,” Young said.
Sandra Chabot, the church’s secretary, said Young’s return as a seasoned pastor will be valuable for the church community at this time in its history. The First Baptist Church of Goffstown was formed in April 1792, she said, and the original section of the church building is circa 1830.
“As a long-time member, I was here when Pastor Ed was here the first time. I believe he has the wisdom, the vision and the maturity as a man of God to help bring stability and wholeness back to our church congregation through his sound biblical teaching of the Bible,” Chabot said.
Araldi agrees, and said, “There’s much anticipation of Ed’s return. While he was serving in Goffstown previously, he was county chaplain at the Hillsborough County Nursing Home and of the prison in Goffstown, before it became the women’s prison, so he had quite an impact throughout the community.”
Young said his success in reaching parishioners is always being available, and focusing on the spiritual aspects rather than the religious.
“Somebody once said, religion is for those who don’t want to go to hell and spirituality is for people who have already been there,” he said.
Young said he believes his return will bring back parishioners, and if the Father’s Day service is any indication, that hope will come to fruition.
“We were there so long that the children who were in Sunday School are now adults with children of their own. We’re thinking they may want to get involved in the Fellowship. That will give us the basis of starting over again,” Young said.