BAR HARBOR, Maine — The former Episcopal priest for the Church of Our Father in Hulls Cove and his wife could have kicked off their retirement next month by renting an RV and taking a cross-country trip.
Instead, the Rev. Chuck Bradshaw, 62, and his wife, Beth Bradshaw, 61, will be working for the next three years at the Lutaaya Theological College and Vocational Center in Uganda. The school, associated with the Worldwide Anglican Communion, is located in Mityana, a city made up of refugees and merchants about 50 miles west of the capital Kampala.
The priest will become principal at the school and Beth Bradshaw, a former ed tech at the Connors Emerson Elementary School in Bar Harbor, will teach English and music.
Bradshaw said Wednesday that he first heard the call to become a missionary while in the seminary in Pennsylvania in the early 1990s.
“One of our neighbors was a student from Uganda,” the minister said. “I was to quit school and go back with him but Beth and I had three small children then.”
After his ordination, Bradshaw served a church in northwest Pennsylvania before taking the job in Hulls Cove. He retired at the end of 2012.
“I turned 60 and began reflecting on the fact that I’d some years longer than my father did,” he said. “I was thinking about how every day is a gift and I heard this calling again and felt an urgency to follow through.”
The Bradshaws applied to be missionaries through the Society of Anglican Missionaries and Senders, headquartered in Ambridge, Pa. Last September, the couple visited three locations in Africa.
“When we met with Bishop Stephen Kaziimba [of the Anglican Diocese of Mityana], he had some ideas about what a ministering couple could do there,” the priest said.
Students at the seminary are anxious to learn about traditional Anglican music, Beth Bradshaw said. She hopes to bring back a better knowledge of African church music.
The Bradshaws set the following goals for themselves and their mission:
• That through the expanded course offerings, the young people of Mityana diocese will have marketable skills that will enable them to earn a living in their home villages, without having to migrate to urban slums in search of work.
• That church musicians will be called and equipped to praise the Lord in song and communicate the Gospel to the hearts of the young.
• That a generation of young pastors, lay readers, and teachers will hear Christ saying, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people.”
• That God will send the students of the Bradshaws’ students to serve as missionaries to the United States, and that the Bradshaws return better equipped to share the Gospel.
To support the couple’s mission, “An African Evening” will be held at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Hulls Cove Schoolhouse on Route 3. Appetizers and desserts will served. Kaveh Haghkerdar will provide international music. Donations will be accepted.