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Narragansett & Providence, Rhode Island

Cherie Binns:
(After the St. Matthew's Medical community in Bellaire, Texas disbanded in 1977)

We moved home to David’s home state of Rhode Island and to the now struggling Community at St. Peter’s in Narragansett  where Ladd and June Fields, Kimbrough Besheer, Leila Schear, Jane Trigg and others had been sent to help establish and nurture community there in 1973.

The eldership had disbanded by early 1978, and so our new family “from Redeemer” stepped into the worship structure that was still present and helped to provide a place to love and live in the Body of Christ as the Church body struggled to leave the Charismatic form and return to its Episcopal roots. Subsequently, David and I opened our home for the next four years for Friday evening Prayer and Praise for as many as 30 persons. 

(Cherie stays active in music leadership at St. Peters & throughout the Northeast in "Faith at Work" weekends, Marriage Encounter, Cursillo and Happening movements. She joined her family in the Roman Catholic church in 1989. Her daughter Becky Gettel is now ordained in Cambridge, MA)

Recollection:  Culture Shock & King Ranch Chicken!

Some in the traveling team from Redeemer to the UK first spent six weeks here to minister to a charismatic Roman Catholic community. The personal narrative is written by Jon Wilkes, about the anticipation of culture shock in UK!

Before I moved to England I had heard the term culture shock. Sylvia and I were invited to move there with the Reverend Graham Pulkingham and the rest of the FisherFolk team. The departure was scheduled for February, 1973. Then I was warned by a friend that I would suffer culture shock. For the first several weeks everything would be wonderful, romantic. After that, the romance would evaporate and would be replaced by revulsion for all things English. It happened to everybody. "Not me," I thought.

There were many reasons for my confidence. First, I wasn't going to Tanganyika or to Ceylon or, worse yet, France. No, everybody would speak English, and would be proud of it. Our American political institutions were based on English common law so my relationship to the police ought not be a problem. I had read the covers off of books by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien and several other English writers. Finally, I would be living with a large number of other Americans in an experimental Christian community based on an extension of the communal lifestyle we had developed at Church of the Redeemer, Houston, Texas. To a great extent we would be importing our own culture. So everything would be all right.

My failure to appreciate the problem stemmed, I now know, from not understanding what culture shock is, how it works, and why it happens. Since you undoubtedly will someday experience this phenomenon, I intend to give you more specific information than did my well-meaning friend. I suggest you take notes...

Anticipating the Problem
Our first problem occurred not after three weeks, but rather while we were still on the familiar side of the Atlantic. The team was scheduled to spend six weeks ministering in Rhode Island immediately before our flight over the water.

Some of us stayed in Providence with a Roman Catholic Charismatic community which, like our own Church of the Redeemer, was based around the life of a parish church. This was at that time a unique phenomenon in the Roman Catholic Church. Jodi Page and my family (Sylvia, Michael, and myself) stayed at Narragansett with the Reverend Keith and Mary Perrin Scott and their children. Keith was the rector of St. Peter's-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Narragansett.

I don't think we realized how much we were anticipating the loss of the most important element of our American culture. We must have rhapsodized and overtly grieved - extensively - because Mary Perrin volunteered to assemble the ingredients for our favorite Tex-Mex dish: King Ranch Chicken Casserole. We would eat this delicacy our last night before shipping out to those uncivilized and uncouth wilds which, in their benighted state, had never savored it. Sylvia would combine the ingredients and cook it. Here is the recipe. It serves eight

King Ranch Chicken Casserole recipe
One 10-ounce can cream of chicken soup
Two cups chicken broth
One 10-ounce can Ro-Tel Tomatoes and Green Chiles
12 Tortillas, cut in pieces
One 3 to 4 pound chicken, cooked and cut into bite- sized pieces
One large onion, chopped
Two cups grated American cheese


Combine soups, chicken broth and tomatoes and set aside. Oil a three-quart casserole. Layer half of tortilla pieces, half of chicken, half of onion and half of cheese, then pour remaining chicken broth over top of remaining cheese. Bake at 350? for 45-60 minutes. This may be frozen and reheated and will still taste great.


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