Volume 1: 1977 – 1989
Welcome to Unique and Different: A Memoir of a Wyoming Journey. This is a two volume set describing a 43 year journey through my time as Episcopal clergy in a state that is indeed unique and different. This journey begins in 1977 in the Little Snake River Valley communities of Dixon and Baggs and works its way through Lander, the Wind River Indian Reservation, Cody and then throughout the entire state. Volume 1 begins with my arrival in Wyoming and the challenges and adventures of moving to one of the most rural communities in America. It continues with personal experiences I’ve encountered moving to a depressed community of Lander and the unique culture of the Wind River Reservation in Fremont County. This volume concludes with our move to Cody in 1990. Often people view clergy as nice people who serve their congregations and meet the needs of people within small circles of their local towns. The point of this memoir is to show that to be a successful clergy you must rise above this image by taking congregations beyond their parochial settings and becoming involved with the many issues facing both the local community and the state at large. Finding success in this effort does not come easy.
Volume 1 will introduce you to one of the most unique places in Wyoming located at the southernmost part of Carbon County. It is truly one of the last vestiges of what many think of as the “old west”. After this five year sojourn the Murphy family moved on to Lander, the county seat of Fremont County. Upon arrival we joined a community that was hit by financial depression and struggling to create for itself a new identity. Over the years this has happened and Lander is becoming one of the most desirable communities in the state. Part of our seven year adventure there includes my personal ministry to the Wind River Reservation and in particular the Shoshone people centered near Fort Washakie. In setting out at the beginning of my Wyoming adventure I made a commitment to do ministry in a unique and different manner and my ministry has lived up to that pledge in all of these communities.
I invite you to join me in this adventure. This is a story telling book and you will find some of these stories to be profound while others will be humorous. They will explore new ways of doing ministry in a traditional setting while exposing you to some of the most fascinating people who make this all possible. Note that there is no index but rather a list of those people who are an integral part of this memoir.