If you stepped onto the sidewalk in front of the Jessen Sunshine Market on the corner of Main and Kunkel in Genoa, Colorado you would see FT Links blacksmith (he can fix anything) shop just across the street. To the left (looking South) you would see the full scope of Main Street with a semi-functioning Conoco station and the Genoa Cafe. A quick look to the North and you would spot the open space and wheat fields that mark the edge of the city. Just before you get to the city limits (three blocks from the center of town) is the Genoa United Methodist Church.
There are actually four congregations in this community of 350 people. There are two Lutheran bodies who have two separate building but are essentially one congregation. They worship one week on the west edge of town and alternate the next week with worship next door to the parsonage. One pastor, two congregations and a lovely arrangement that allows them all to survive the small numbers. There is also a reformed LDS building and then the Methodist Church that anchors the north edge of town.
As owners and operators of the only grocery store in town it was our blessing to serve as the community welcome wagon. When ever any one new moved to town (you can imagine the massive influx of people!!) we would bag a gift of groceries and go to meet them. It was a hospitality gift that was really driven by a desperate desire to get people to buy groceries. It was more marketing that hospitality!
It turns out that the Methodist Church has a tendency to move pastors from time to time. So the former pastor packed and departed the parsonage while rumors abounded about the new pastor who would be arriving. He and his family were moving to Genoa from a small town in Kentucky called Wilmore where he had just graduated from seminary.
As soon as we learned the date, we started the semi-sacred watch for a U-Haul truck to arrive. Sure enough, it was right on time. J.L. and Marian Penfold pulled into town on a hot summer day. I loaded my pipe with a fresh clump of cherry tobacco, lit up, got the grocery bag, and walked past the Post Office to meet the new preacher / potential grocery purchaser.
We met on the street next to their car. He was kind of quiet, very polite, a bit reserved, but friendly to the core. The welcome wagon task was done. Now it was his turn. He came through by walking the two blocks downtown that very afternoon to return the hello. He even remembered my name.
I will save the details for later but let me just tell you the rest of the story now. One thing led to another, I ended up sitting in church, JL preached, I went forward, knelt, and God took it from there. The new preacher in town was a successful fisherman! Thanks be to God!