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New NHA Book Explores a Noted Pastor’s Time on Our Island

The Nantucket Historical Association has released a new 146-page publication, Island Pastor, by the Rev. Dr. Ruth Herron Smalt, chronicling six years of her ministry at Nantucket’s First Congregational Church, beginning with her arrival on the island in June 2014 as a newly minted pastor.

Rev. Ruth shares how she got to know her new congregation and community by wandering along historic cobblestone roads, brick sidewalks, and sandy by-ways, bicycling the island from end to end, engaging in conversations on wooden benches in town and listening carefully to the challenges and delights of year-rounders, seasonal residents, and visitors.

The book recounts her immersion in the heartbreaks, celebrations and generational identities of a community rooted in its cherished and well-curated history as a vibrant whaling town. Through frozen harbors and hurricanes, early morning worship on the beach, life-and-death realities of MedFlight, and the pleasures of wheelchair bicycling and goat-scaping, the energetic and amiable pastor welcomes the reader into this snapshot of her time on-island.

“Reverend Ruth has told a warm and engaging story of a faith journey leading her to Nantucket, perhaps one of the world’s most spiritual places. Once there, she shares the wonderful stories of a faraway place, its joys, pains, and quirks, making up the soul of an island”, says David Gregory, journalist, author of How’s Your Faith.

The Nantucket Historical Association thanks the Rev. Georgia Ann Snell, Helen Lynch, Hampton S. Lynch, Karen T. Butler and John F. Thompson, Curtis Barnes, and Beverly Hall and David Billings, whose support made the publication of the book possible. The Rev. Smalt will be a featured speaker during the NHA’s Food For Thought webinar series, on Wednesday, February 10 at 5:30 pm EST. Island Pastor can be purchased at the NHA’s online museum shop for $17.95.

The NHA’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history of Nantucket through its programs, collections, and properties, to promote the island’s significance and foster an appreciation of it among all audiences.

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