The First Presbyterian Church of Virginia City is very pleased to welcome its newest pastor, Reverend Rebecca Watkins. Rev. Watkins earned a Masters of Divinity at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania. She is an ordained Presbyterian Pastor and a member of Nevada Presbytery. Rev. Watkins served as pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Lee Vining, California, for the last 11 years. Please join us in person or on ZOOM on September 4, 2022 at 9:30AM when Rev. Rebecca Watkins will lead her first worship service as pastor of our historic church.
If you’re interested in learning a little more about Rebecca, enjoy the following childhood story of special memories growing up for a time in Ely, Nevada, 1961-1964.
My folks had adventurous spirits. Emma and Art, from Maine and Connecticut had already traveled to Sterling, Colorado where I was born; the second child of four. My father finished his Masters in Education at Stanford while working in an Industrial School in San Francisco. Then the family was off to Ely, Nevada, where he took a position as high school principal.
We moved into a new one-story house in a new development with huge gullies and small valleys running between the rows of new homes. Initially there were no trees but the fun had in those big gullies full of horned toads, lizards, sage brush, places to build forts and play wild West were the best!
The first winter we arrived my father joined a group of folks who volunteered sharing the responsibility to get the local downhill ski slope’s rope tow running on weekends. When my dad’s volunteer time rolled around my siblings, my mom and dad and I would get an early start heading off to the ski hill.
Getting to the hill was not always easy as the road was seldom plowed once you left the highway. The “first up” volunteer needed superb driving skills to reach the base of the ski slope. I can remember my father telling us children, “We’re heading off the highway and up the dirt road now! Be quiet back there. I need to concentrate.” We were only too glad to comply. As a child 6 years old, I found these treks in a snow covered road to be terrifying. God and I spent a lot of time in conversation during the drive to those Saturday ski adventures. Oh my, the slips and slides as the car seemed to miraculously climb…my father keeping the speed consistent, feeling the old car slip this way and that, adjusting, hands light on the wheel, turning into the next slide. One wrong turn of the steering wheel would mean a lot of back breaking work to get the car road bound again.
Once we reached the warming hut, we would help build a fire in the potbellied stove. Then we followed my dad climbing by foot up the hill, skis over the shoulder, and following the rope tow buried in the snow. The rope tow engine was at the top. The job of the volunteer was to get it started for the town folks who would soon arrive for a day of fun.
And fun, we had, skiing, building snowmen with friends, picnic lunches and hot chocolate. At days end sometimes my dad would let us ski down the access road, then let us loop our pole wrist bands around the car’s rear bumper for a pull on the uphill sections.
I thank my parents for their willingness to go and do. Living in Nevada was a grand experience!
By Rebecca Watkins