Our Country Home
A little over a year ago, I had not heard of Caroline County. In January, 2004, I was contacted by a small group from Cardinal Baptist Church asking if I would consider talking with them about possibly being their pastor. After a lot of discussion and prayer, I came to Cardinal on July 11 to preach in a worship service and spend time with the people.
Once we finished the usual Baptist potluck (yes, they had fried chicken and it was excellent), the congregation and I got down to business. In a lively question and answer session, we talked about the finer points of what I believed and how I worked.
One of the questions asked concerned how our family would deal with moving from the large metropolitan area of Newport News to the rural setting of Caroline County. I answered that it would certainly be an adjustment. However, that adjustment would be eased by the fact that Caroline County is close to the cities of Richmond and Fredericksburg, both of which have much to offer commercially and culturally.
But the greatest benefit of living in Caroline County is the people. About seven years ago, I came to enjoy Tracy Byrd’s rendition of I’m From the Country. You may remember the lines in it that say, “Everybody knows everybody, everybody calls you friend; You don’t need an invitation, kick off your shoes come on in.”
When I first heard that song, I doubted that a place like that really existed. Well, the only part of that song I don’t practice regularly now is kicking off my shoes. When I visit with people here, I do feel as if I am truly spending time with folks who have been our good friends longer than the few months we’ve lived here.
Speaking of “everybody knows everybody,” after being here about a week, my car was giving me fits. One of Cardinal’s deacons recommended a local shop, and I took my car there and introduced myself to the owner. This shop owner already knew who I was, thanks to our mutual friend. He helped me greatly by having the car fixed and running well inside of an hour.
I drove away feeling like I was now part of a community that really does know and care about their neighbors. I had a new friend. This is only one example of many about the people who have helped us out, sometimes with only a moment’s notice.
Buying our house in Lake Land’ Or marked our first time to live outside the city limits or to receive mail by rural delivery. The house we bought is good, but the neighbors are fantastic! One neighbor in particular is very generous with his time and incredible knowledge of how to fix things. Again, this seems to be typical of people here. They keep an eye on each other and help out when they can.
I’m honored to be part of a church that also cares deeply about this community and what it will take to make it a more wonderful place. The British writer C. S. Lewis said, “If you read history, you’ll find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were those who thought the most of the next world.”
Yes, we Baptists have definite beliefs about God, sin, heaven, and hell that may separate us from some of our neighbors. But our goal is to live those beliefs in a way that will make the place we are now a better place.
Whether you come to agree with us or not, we would be pleased and honored to meet you. We would like to hear what you think we can be doing to make Caroline County a better place to call home and enjoy life.
May 9, 2005
John Boquist married the former Yvonne Seymour in August, 1983. In 1988 and 1990 their daughters Patricia and Elizabeth were born. John spent much of his adult life in local church music ministry before beginning studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2001. He became the pastor at Cardinal Baptist Church, Ruther Glen, Virginia in August of 2004. He may be reached for comment here.