The “welcoming, charming people of New Town” in Williamsburg VA are among the reasons Ellen and John Morgan moved into the community a year ago. Ellen did online research when John accepted a call to become the senior pastor at Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. They were looking for a walkable, environmentally friendly neighborhood that would offer some restaurants for two foodies to enjoy. Realtor John Womeldorf (Mr Williamsburg) of Liz Moore & Associates led them to New Town. John claims they were “predestined” to live here.
Ellen, the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, was born in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. John hails from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. They met in the choir at Grove City College in northwestern Pennsylvania. Ellen earned a degree in chemistry and works today as a technical consultant from her home office. After graduation they headed to Princeton where John earned his M.Div. Since then Ellen and John have lived in Minnesota, New Jersey and York, Pennsylvania where John served as a pastor in Presbyterian churches. Along the way their family grew with the addition of (now) 25 and 22 year old daughters and a cat. Both daughters are nearby – one in Washington, D.C. and the other in Baltimore. The cat, Cookie, is now 6. She is an indoor cat who decided to go “out" once the Morgans moved to New Town. Cookie was “out" for a week. During the search for Cookie, Ellen and John met many of their New Town neighbors.
John and Ellen Morgan
Ellen and John spend two weeks each summer enjoying Chautauqua in New York State. Ellen grew up attending Chautauqua and introduced John to it. (Google Chautauqua if it is new to you!) Now John volunteers with religious services while they are there. A special feature of Chautauqua is the lack of automobiles – people walk or bike.
For eighteen years John has practiced the “Round Table Pulpit”. He has brought this program of collaborative preaching to Williamsburg Presbyterian Church. Fifteen congregation members meet once a week for six weeks to discuss the Bible text for the following Sunday. The sermon grows out of these sessions.
Both Ellen and John find ours to be a community of relationships and volunteering. Ellen notes that having our garages at the rear of houses keeps us from driving into the garage and walking into our homes without ever setting a foot outside our front doors. Because we cannot simply drive away from the front of our houses, we meet our neighbors. Perhaps good garages make good neighbors…
By Betsy Darling
Reprinted from the New Town Crier