My name is Craig Ray and I am a born-and-raised New Englander. I grew up on a farm about four hours east of here in Gray, Maine. Growing up, I became disenchanted with the church and struggled to see my place in it, or the need for it. I became frustrated with much of what church had to offer. But God used this to mature me and press on to make my faith my own.
In most of my 20’s I felt like a wanderer. I moved around a lot but it was with intentionality. I left Maine to see where and to what God had called me. I served him in Brazil working with kids on the street. Then I moved to Birmingham, Alabama to work with Mission Birmingham, restoring communities through the churches. Next I moved up to Minnesota where God used my five years there to bless me with my wife, Brianna, and a passion for church planting that would then turn into church renewal. Having never lost my passion for New England, I moved to Massachusetts in 2011 and have now taken on a role as lead pastor at FBC of Barre.
God has done a lot in my life in my first 30 years: starting as a farmer, switching to building houses, becoming a missionary, then a bus driver, to now pastoring a church. But God has used all this to train me, to shape me, and to grow in me a passion for His church. I have come to love the cities of New England. I have a passion to live for God, preaching His word, and watching Him work through prayer. But I also have a passion to see the Word of God lived out in our communities. God is a big God and I expect Him to show up in big ways.
I have come to believe that our message is not that we are better than anybody else, but that we know Jesus who can give hope to the hopeless, encouragement to the downtrodden, and grace to those who have nowhere else to turn. I know this is true because he has done this for me. We are all broken people, living in a broken world that needs the love and compassion that only Jesus can give.