Greetings from Rev John David Heeckt,
So, what is there to tell all of you about me? Well, I’m 57 years old and single. I was born in Nebraska, but the family came East when I was barely three years old, so I’m really a New Jersey boy, which is where I grew up. I went to college at Rutgers University, I went to divinity school at Yale, I’ve picked up two more master’s degrees from Harvard and Boston University, and I’m working on a Doctor of Ministry degree at Emory University. When I’m not studying (which I do a lot, as you might imagine) I enjoy music, architecture and art, walking, hiking and backpacking, cooking and baking, reading, classic movies, and reading. I’m a total dog guy, although cats are fine, too; really, I’m a friend to any sort of animal—unless it’s trying to eat me, or something like that.
I didn’t plan on going into the ministry straight out of college; my original plan was to be a teacher like both of my parents, but, one thing led to another, and in far more time than it takes to tell, well, here I am! I started out in ministry doing collegiate chaplaincy, and served for seven years in Boston, working mostly with students from Boston University, Boston College, Northeastern University, and the New England Conservatory. I’m currently serving in local church ministry at Saint John’s United Church of Christ in Easton, Pennsylvania, but I’m very familiar with Connecticut, since I served at the First Congregational Church of Branford before coming to Pennsylvania, and my first church was Ridgebury Congregational Church, which is just down Route 7 in Ridgefield.
And, truth be told, my time in Ridgefield has a lot to do with why I’m so excited about the chance to come back to Connecticut, and particularly to come to Kent. You see, during my years in Ridgefield I would frequently head up Route 7 to the Berkshires, or even all the way to Vermont, and, of course, the first picturesque New England town you drive through headed north from Ridgefield on Route 7 is Kent! Over the years I’ve picked up a number of volumes at the House of Books, a couple of gifts at the Heron Craft Gallery, and even had a couple of Reubens sandwiches at the Villager Restaurant. (I do like a good Reuben!) And of course, after my shopping, or dining, or whatever, I would head out of town, and as I did I always passed the First Congregational Church, and I would think to myself, “Well, now that looks like a fine old New England church, and I’ll bet its full of fine New England folks. It must be a very fortunate person who’s the minister at that church.” Then, when I was looking for a new church job, I got the chance to meet the people on your Search Committee, and it turned out I was right—your fine old New England church is filled with fine folks!