Thursday, 17 December 2009

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas 2009 Keith & Sharon Drury

The short version:
We both continue teaching at Indiana Wesleyan University, have been married now for 42 years, we both are getting serious about bicycling as a hobby and our sons live the same place as last year.

The longer version:

Sharon continues to teach advanced leadership and organizational behavior in IWU’s doctoral program, and advises students who are writing their dissertations. She was awarded a trip to Prague, Czech Republic to present at an international leadership conference in November, and also saw beautiful architecture that escaped WWII wreckage, toured the largest ancient castle in the world, and observed the shift to capitalism since the "Velvet Revolution" in 1989. Back home, Sharon loves to hear the grandchildren say “Hi Grandma” across the atrium at church or just “sit in the grass and talk” at home. Hobbies include taking bike rides after work and longer ones on Saturday. College Wesleyan Church is still her favorite place for faith building and friendships (some since 1972). She is also learning how to Facebook ;-)

Keith continues to teach undergraduate students in practical ministry and Christian education where he is known for making students write 100-page “papers.” He rides his bike to school year round—even in the snow. Since his knees started running out of gas he has shifted his summer hobby from backpacking to bicycling and logged 2000 miles last summer on his new "Salsa Fargo" bike, half of that off-road. He still writes a weekly “Tuesday Column” for pastors. This past year he wrote a book with David to be called “Ageless Faith” which is a conversation (sometimes an argument) between the boomer and emerging generations. The book is coming out mext month and is designed to trigger similar conversations among the generations in local churches to bring the generations together. Oh, yeah, a few weeks ago he fell off the roof while blowing leaves out of the gutters but only spent a week on crutches.

We still live a few blocks from campus and attend College Church here in Marion. For spring break last year we went to Bermuda and rode scooters for a week. We both like bicycling and rode Michigan's White Pine Trail and last summer we together rode the C&O Canal towpath and the Great Alleghany Passage from Washington DC to Pittsburg. Sharon likes bicycling—especially when she can stay in B&Bs.

David continues as Executive Pastor of College Church in Marion and his wife Kathy manages the home and three children. John is in the final stages of his dissertation in theology at Princeton where his wife, Amanda is also a PhD student in CE/Youth Ministries, and they are raising their son, Sam. To our surprise and delight, John got a teaching job starting next summer in IWU’s new Seminary, so next year both our sons will live nearby—something we never expected would happen since they are both ministers. (Maybe Keith can get one of them to blow leaves out of the gutters next year!)

Merry Christmas to all!

Keith & Sharon Drury
4637 S Wigger Street
Marion, IN 46953

Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas ‘08
Keith & Sharon Drury
4637 S. Wigger St.
Marion, IN 46953

SUMMARY: We are happily engaged in teaching at IWU, in church life, writing, and outdoor adventures.

SHARON: I’m enjoying teaching doctoral students in organizational leadership and seeing the students making a difference in their companies. We faculty are also writing a book on leading organizations. Being part of a blended program (onsite and online teaching) allows me to work from home many days, and attend daytime events with the grandkids. We also had great vacations this year—like Spring Break in Key West, General Conference with our extended family in June (see picture below), and we spent a month out West in July-August—in Wyoming backpacking the Wind River Mountains and in Montana and Colorado in some of the most beautiful places in the world. I lost my father at age 90, and was able to spend two precious weeks with my mom and family in Tucson. I’m so grateful for the prayers of my Christian friends, many who are at College Wesleyan Church and others are across the USA. Stop by if you’re in Marion sometime and have coffee with us!

KEITH: I’m in my 15th years of full time teaching here at Indiana Wesleyan University. I started teaching youth courses as an adjunct here in 1976 so it feels like more than 30 years. I sometimes forget I ever did anything else. I saw two books come out this year, one on the Apostle’s Creed, (Common Ground) plus a short book on writing (Brief Guide for Writers) I’m in my thirteenth year writing my weekly Internet “Tuesday Column.” In May I returned to re-hike the Southern 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail, the same trail Sharon and I hiked 35 years ago. I was amazed at how much I remembered of the trail. I’m in the process of exploring what will be my future outdoor adventures and am thinking seriously about trying to ride a bicycle on all of America’s Rails-to-Trails routes. I’m still pondering that however. My next book will be co-written with my son Dave—a dialogue between a Boomer and an Emergent minister (maybe it will be an argument ;-).

Our kids have their own Christmas cards but from our viewpoint, they’re doing fine. Dave is executive pastor at College Wesleyan here and he & Kathy live about 5 miles away. We are getting good at playing Wii with their kids, Max, Karina, and Lauren. John & Amanda are both in PhD programs at Princeton Seminary, he in Theology and she in Adolescent Ministry/CE. The biggest change in their lives was their new son Samuel James, who born last December. We were there for Thanksgiving. All of us got together at the Wesleyan General Conference, including our World Hope nephew Scott & Elizabeth (on right)

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
Keith & Sharon

Christmas 2007

Merry Christmas ‘07
Keith & Sharon Drury
4637 S. Wigger St.
Marion, IN 46953

SUMMARY: We are happily engaged in teaching at IWU, church life, writing, and still backpacking.

SHARON: This last year Sharon took “her dream job” as a full time professor in the Doctoral program in leadership at IWU, teaching several Saturdays in Indianapolis and advising dissertations and teaching online through the week. She is also active in leading a Bible study at College Wesleyan Church. We still live in the same house, drive the same car, and have the same couch. Last summer, she backpacked 100 high-elevation miles on the Colorado Trail with Keith plus Kerry Kind and Phil Woodbury. This year Sharon also served as the general editor of a new book on Adult Education, which is to be published within a month.

KEITH.: After teaching his 13th year full-time at IWU, Keith headed off to Turkey in May with our two sons for a 10-day trip, then backpacked with biology professor Burt Webb through the Wind River Mountains in Wyoming—to which he promised to bring Sharon back next year. He finished his manuscript on the Apostle’s Creed, Common Ground—where all Christians at all times agree that should be published by this coming summer. He is in his twelfth year writing his weekly “Tuesday Column” on the Internet and says, “I’m in my 60’s now and I intend to act like it more.” We’ll see about that.


Our kids have their own Christmas cards where they give their own details but in summary… David is now executive pastor at College Church. Dave’s wife Kathy is busy building a new house nearby and we now see their kids, Max, Karina, and Lauren every week. John finished his comps and is in the dissertation stage in his PhD program at Princeton Seminary (while pastoring a church and teaching at Somerset Christian College on the side). John’s wife Amanda is now also in the Princeton PhD program in youth ministry & CE and she is now “great with child” so they are planning their own personal nativity within the week—a new little boy.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Keith & Sharon

Christmas 2006

gee, where is this christmas letter?

Christmas 2005

Merry Christmas ‘05
4637 S. Wigger St. Marion, IN 46953

SHARON. Probably the biggest news for Sharon[1] was becoming Dean[2 of the Adult & Professional studies programs last month at IWU[3]. She is busier but full of energy and acts like[4] she’s in her mid-thirties. She also occasionally teaches a course in her field[5] in the master’s or doctoral programs.

KEITH. I decided to become an “old man” this year. [6] I grew a beard[7] and decided to have more fun[8] and argue with my sons more. [9] Speaking of my sons we took our semi-annual father-son trek last June on the John Muir trail which was basically a winter camping trip and we failed to make it up Mt Whitney[10] due to snow and ice. I continue to teach about the same courses at IWU. [11] The division where I teach continues to grow[12] and I still am committed to hiking 500 miles a year, [13] finishing the Pacific Crest Trail last May[14]. Last year was my most productive year in writing having completed three books[15] in nine months.

KEITH & SHARON TOGETHER. We went to Tucson to see Sharon’s family over Thanksgiving. We took a road trip vacation last summer through New York & New England. Our daily life has settles into the peaceful routine of empty-nesters so we must periodically do something crazy to break up old patterns so Sharon often makes reservations to kidnap me away for a romantic weekend someplace she’s heard about. She makes me leave all laptops at home.


Our kids have their own Christmas cards but in case you wondered… David is still a pastor at Spring lake Wesleyan church in Michigan with Kathy have three children: Max, Karina and Lauren. John is in a PhD program in theology at Princeton Seminary and teaches theology part time Somerset Christian College in New Jersey and his wife Amanda is a youth pastor at Doylestown United Methodist Church near Philadelphia.

We love hearing from our friends. Stay in touch!

Keith & Sharon


1. Keith is writing the Christmas letter this year so don’t blame Sharon for any inaccuracies, tall tales or hyperbole.

2. Sharon was formerly the Associate Dean. This new job means she is the leading academic officer for about ten million students, or so it seems.

3. IWU = Indiana Wesleyan University located in Marion Indiana where almost nothing else is located except several Dollar Stores and the boyhood home of James Dean (the actor not the sausage guy).

4. On a good day she also looks like she’s in her mid 30s too.

5. Her field is “Organizational behavior” which is exactly that—a study of how organizations behave. (Which they often don’t)

6. I turned 60 in July and decided I’d looked behind me enough when backing up—from now on I’m just backing up letting others look out for me.

7. It is a nice white “Amish beard” that my students call “a chinstrap,” Conservative Presbyterians call a “Francis Schaeffer beard” but Wilbur Williams pronounces a “Semitic beard” showing me the recent archeological discovery of art paintings 1000 BC.

8. A person with a white beard is not taken as seriously which delights me since others have taken me too seriously too long now.

9. Finding places of significant disagreement with my sons is hard—they are so thoughtful and thus often agree with my ideas!

10. Mt Whitney is the highest mountain in the “lower 48” states. This year’s snows were incredible and even getting to our base camp at “Guitar Lake” took days and miles of “walking” on snow as deep as ten feet. After a daylong attempt that got increasingly dangerous I called a turnaround though I wouldn’t mind dying on this mountain but My son David has three pre-schoolers at home. I also returned to the Appalachian Trail this summer and hiked all of New Hampshire with a couple students and a new doctor friend from Indianapolis, Phil.

11. The courses include Curriculum, Spiritual formation, Church leadership, Christian Education, Camping, preaching and Backpacking.

12. We now have about 15 professors teaching about 500 majors, adding one or two new professors each year—mostly younger ones which keeps a regular supply of young bright minds right out of their PhD programs greatly flavoring our luncheon arguments.

13. This summer I’ll be doing a “bookmark trek.” After finishing the Appalachian Trail in 1998 I stuck in something different—canoeing the length of the Missouri River. Then I started the PCT. Now that I’ve finished the PCT I’m doing another bookmark trek—but I’m not telling where or what yet.

14. Four students hiked with me to finish up the PCT. We hiked south across the Mojave then along the Southern California mountain ranges to end in Palm Springs where I had finished coming north a year before. The PCT took five hikes: 1. Lake Tahoe to Mt Shasta (2000) [I took 2001 off from the PCT to hike the Colorado Trail] 2. Mojave to Lake Tahoe (2002). 3. Canada to Mt. Shasta (2003). 4. Mexico to Palm Springs (2004) and 5. Mojave to Palm Springs (2005). None of this means anything to anybody but those of you who hiked the PCT and to you this is the only footnote of consequence in the whole Christmas letter!

15. Two of the books were scheduled with my regular publisher and the third came as an immediate opportunity from another publisher and I took it on. It almost killed me and I am still recuperating from last year’s output—“virtue has gone out of me.” On the other hand I did the best writing of my life last year, so what cost me benefits readers.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Christmas 2004

Merry Christmas
Keith & Sharon Drury
4637 S. Wigger St. Marion, IN 46953

Christmas update:

SHARON. Our big news is Sharon finished her PhD in June at Regent University. She is an Associate Dean at Indiana Wesleyan University where she heads up all adult business programs what includes about 5000 students. She now has more time but has started teaching part of the time in the masters and new doctoral program at IWU—she loves it.

KEITH. Keith continues to teach in the religion division at IWU in practical ministries including: Christian Education, Curriculum, Spiritual formation, Church leadership, Camping, preaching and one phys ed course: Backpacking. In the summers he goes backpacking with students usually hiking about 500-700 miles. Last summer he started at the Mexico line with Sam Bills and hiked north through the desert to Palm Springs on the Pacific Crest Trail. He has covered 2300 miles of that trail that goes form Mexico to Canada He plans to finish the final 350- miles this summer with four students. He and four of his students will be crossing the Mojave Desert and over two mountain ranges ending in Palm Springs which will enable him to finish both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail by age 60—which was one of his life goals. But that is summer—through his teaching year he has been writing two days a week. His new book is on the personal spiritual disciplines and is due before Christmas. Those who’ve read the manuscript think it is his best work. He starts the companion volume (corporate spiritual disciplines) New Years day.


To celebrate Sharon’s PhD and return to “normal life” we went backpacking on the John Muir Trail in the high Sierras last summer. As part of that adventure we climbed Mt Whitney, the highest mountain in the lower 48 states. This was Sharon’s first return to backpacking in a decade or two—but she survived the 15 mile days over snow-covered mountains as high as 14,000’. It was enough fun that we’re thinking of doing some more this summer—maybe in the Alps in August. We’re both going to Tucson for Christmas to celebrate with Sharon’s folks. This coming Spring Break well be going to Greece with a bunch of students. Oh yeah, we also moved across the street so our address increased by one number. We are healthy for which we thank God, and ten pounds overweight for which we blame ourselves.


Our kids do their own Christmas card and have a life apart from their life but in case you wondered… David is “Connections Pastor” at Spring lake Wesleyan church in Michigan and his first book just came out called The Fruitful Life –it’s good. He is still the husband of his wife Kathy and father of Max and Karina. John graduated from Princeton Seminary this summer and is teaching at Somerset Christian College in New Jersey this year while he is applying for Ph.D. programs all year and waiting for his wife Mandy to finish too at Princeton. There are other exciting developments in their life but they ought to tell you about them—not us. ;-)

We love hearing from our friends. Stay in touch!

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Christmas 2003

We lost this letter I guess...

Monday, 14 December 2009

Christmas 2002

We lost this letter I guess...

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Christmas 2001

Dear Friends:

This is a sort of thank you note for your Christmas card… Thanks for keeping in touch with us, it is good to catch up with so many friends. Christmas sort of sneaked up on us this year and thus this thank you card instead of an on-time Christmas card. We're picking one card a day and responding to it with this generic letter--well, at least we're addressing the envelope personally. ;-)

We are still happily ensconced at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana and continue to live in our little cottage small enough to clean on the way out the door. We're both fine and have had a good 2001 for which we thank God with grateful hearts. If you don't care for these kinds of self-absorbed letters then this is the end of the note. However if you actually do wonder what we've been up to, the rest of this note is for you.

Sharon still heads up the "Student Services Department" at Indiana Wesleyan--that is sort of a registrar's office for IWU's adult education program. She supervises about 25+ people so she's got plenty to do. In her "spare" time she started work on a Ph.D. in Leadership last summer at Regent University. This is a research degree so beyond her full time job she gives an additional 20-25 hours a week to studying and writing, along with teaching an undergraduate leadership course at IWU as a bonus. This explains why you are getting this late and Keith is doing it. However, Sharon enjoyed this past year seeing our grandchild Max, and going on vacation to Vancouver Island last summer with our friends.

Keith (the one writing this) continues to teach practical "applied ministry" courses in the IWU Religion department including leadership, CE, youth, preaching, and the new freshman course introducing pastoral ministry (along with a Backpacking course for the PE department). I feel I've experienced "convergence" in my life's calling as if everything I ever did before this prepared me just for this. I take no speaking engagements anywhere off campus and pile up all my eggs in one basket--The basket includes my students, and many are the children of the youth workers I used to work with when I was in the youth department.

Having a school schedule has enabled me to continues my outdoor adventures with students. I got to backpack more than 500 miles this year on Indiana's Knobstone Trail, on the Appalachian Trail again this Christmas Break (Smokey Mountains), and I had a wonderful time in August on a month-long trek across the Rocky Mountains' "Colorado Trail" while Sharon was at Regent in her residency. Several students and Burt Webb (a biology professor at IWU) went along on the Colorado trip. Burt talked me into doing the Indianapolis Marathon this fall. Having completed it (not very fast, though!) I did another one a month later, and think I'm going to keep doing them for a while. I'm thinking of a new slogan for life in the late 50's: "I may be slow, but I finish."

My mother is in a nearby nursing home and weighs in the 70's but is pretty chipper in attitude still. Our sons: David (with his wife, Kathy and our grandson, Max) is a pastor in Illinois and John is now a student at Princeton seminary. (John will marry Mandy Hontz this June 8). "The guys" (Keith, Dave, John) spent a week in Scotland together last May--sort of a bloodless hunting trip, something they do every other year.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Monday, 7 December 2009

Christmas 1998

Merry Christmas friend!

We are now in the busy-happy empty nest stage of life the 50’s brings to couples. Both of us are feeling younger in a strange way than we did ten years ago. Perhaps the Victor Hugo quote explains it: “The 40’s are the old age of youth but the 50’s are the youth of old age.” When we were in the 40’s when we compared ourselves with those in their 30’s and felt older... now we compare ourselves to those in their 60’s and feel young!

Sharon continues to pour herself into academic and administrative life at Indiana Wesleyan University’s adult education programs. She heads up the General Studies Department administering 400 classes at 30 sites across Indiana as well as many on-line courses. She relishes the fact that her small house can be cleaned quickly to provide time for her hobbies of aerobics, flower gardening, and shopping with her daughter-in-law, Kathy. She serves locally by teaching a woman’s mid-week Bible study at College Church with her friend Missy Swyers.

Keith continues to love his teaching and pours himself into the 100 students he teaches each semester. He specializes in the practical courses, including leadership, worship, discipleship, practice preaching, and a freshman New Testament course each semester. He no longer takes any meetings at all out of town, choosing rather to pour himself into the same “congregation” of students day after day without diversion. He enjoys watching the amazing Joe Seaborn by serving on College Church’s board and building committee. His specialty on campus is mentoring students.

We are enjoying life in our one bedroom cottage just a few blocks from campus and next to Colonial Oaks Retirement Center where Keith’s mother now lives. We still get time to get away on Saturdays for our new family hobby, Kayaking Indiana’s rivers. Sharon (who can’t swim) thinks her Kayak is more stable than our canoe, so we’ve been having fun running the rivers.

The empty nest has given us a chance to travel even more. Keith wandered through Greece tracing St. Paul’s footsteps last Spring break, then left in May to backpack coast-to-coast across Scotland with several of his students. Six weeks later Sharon joined him in Europe for two weeks of more conventional vacation in Spain. The biggest news for Keith occurred in August when he (finally) completed the final 250 miles of the 2160 mile Appalachian Trail, a goal he set in 1959. Sharon joined him to walk the final few days, having hiked the Southern 1000 miles with him in 1972.

Our sons are doing fine and serving the Lord, for which we are grateful. David graduated from Gordon-Conwell Seminary this past summer and moved to Indianapolis where he is now planting a new church with his wife, Kathy. John is a sophomore at IWU, totally dedicated to academic and spiritual life.

In reviewing our Christmas list as we made this letter, we were flooded with memories of experiences and friends over the years. This is indeed the richest of all savings accounts! We thank the Lord for friends like you!

Keith & Sharon Drury