Personal Testimony: Growing up in Gardner, Maine just outside the capital to a single alcoholic mother, along with my half sister, proved trying, both for my young soul and for others who had to deal with me. Neglected and left for the most part to myself, I grew independent, rebellious, and constantly mischievous. Petty crime in those pre-teen years blossomed into full house and car burglaries in the early teen years accompanied by an array of drugs from acid to marijuana to cigarettes and alcohol. My biological father only ever made one promise that I heard again and again…that he would not rest until I was buried in a grave; a promise that he came close to fulfilling, but by the Lord’s mighty outstretched hand, I was spared numerous times. By the time I was turning 16 I still hadn’t finished eighth grade (though I tried twice!) and had spent the last half year as a resident of the Maine Youth Center, a juvenile correctional facility. Now a ward of the state, I was accepted into Weymouth House, a group home for delinquent boys on the coast of Maine where I stayed for the next few years.
The house parents were Christian and they attended church regularly and invited us along with them. I was the only one to staunchly refuse and entertained myself instead with various forms of Buddhist meditation and literature as I sat in a large van safely outside the walls where I knew the presence of God dwelt in his people (I just didn’t want to admit it! Romans 1:18f). The Lord used the sacrificial kindness and love of the house parents, Tim and Sabrina, to “heap burning coals on my head” (Rom. 12:20). There were no angels singing or chimes ringing, submitting to the Lordship of Christ and understanding him as Savior took time. But soon, like Pilgrim in John Bunyan’s classic, I was leaving the City of Destruction, tossing off my burden, traveling along on the Highway of the King, on my way to the Celestial City of God.
I was proud that with the Lord’s strength I was one of only two teens who had completed the group home program since it’s beginning many years earlier, though I still had no place to call home. The loving house parents, Tim and Sabrina, invited me into their tiny “L” shaped apartment attached to the Group Home, to live with them and their two wonderful kids Caleb and Christina. I was born as Corey West, ironic to be named after one of the cardinal directions when my life was in reality so directionless, but after the Lord regenerated my spirit and brought me new life, a new family, a new home, it only seemed fitting to accept my adoption into their family by changing my name too. At the age of 18 when teens are so eager to get away from mom and dad, I was eager to be part of family and proudly wear the name McLaughlin to this day. That’s fitting as well in another way since it’s the name of a crater on the far side of the moon; a symbol of the impact Christ has made in my life and how far God has brought and the perspective I now have.
Personal Invitation: As the lead pastor for Sheffield Chapel I am honored and privileged to invite you to worship the LORD with us and to grow in the purpose, the presence, and the power of our God. My beautiful and faithful wife, Erica, my wonderful children Adara (Exalted One), Isaiah (God is Salvation), and Malachi (My Messenger), as well as our entire church family look forward to meeting you. May God bless you with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places until then!
Pastor Corey J. McLaughlin
Office Phone: 413-528-2911
Office Hours: Wed 8am – 8pm; Thurs & Fri 8am – 3pm; Mon & Tues – by appointment only.