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Clear Spring youth/associate pastor's latest vocation a long time in coming

December 29, 2009|By MARLO BARNHART

CLEAR SPRING -- After a career in chemical engineering, teaching and writing industrial textbooks, Lee Ruby has accepted a call as youth/associate pastor at Hilltop Christian Fellowship.

It was a long time coming, according to Ruby, who said he couldn't shake the feeling that the move was right for him despite the fact that he is 79 years old.

"At Christmas 2007, I joined the youth group at both Hilltop and the church where I was evangelizing in Laurel, Md.," Ruby said.

Ruby moved to the Clear Spring area last December. Ordained in October, he went on a mission trip with the Hilltop youth group to Mississippi, where the group repaired houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

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"In the meantime, I found a house on Ashton Road that had a large basement," Ruby said.

He has been equipping it with a pool table, table tennis, air hockey, darts, a 44-inch television and games for the church's youths.

"They are welcome here at any time," Ruby said.

The move to Washington County was sparked by Ruby's friendship with Dennis Whitmore, Hilltop's pastor, whom he met in Laurel a few years ago.

"Dennis wanted me to go into full-time ministry then, but I wasn't ready yet," Ruby said.

Ruby said he is eagerly anticipating the congregation's plans to buy and move into the New Life Christian Ministries building east of Clear Spring in January.

An Ohio native, Ruby went to school there to become a chemical engineer. Happy with that decision, Ruby said he was "offered" another possible career path in 1951, when he attended church with his grandmother.

"I went back a week later and accepted Jesus as my savior," Ruby said.

At that time, he began attending seminary, graduating in 1955. All the while, he was maintaining his prior career, got married and fathered three children.

Starting in the late 1950s, Ruby began evangelizing in his off hours, accepting no money for that work. That went on for 20 years.

After he retired from Dayton (Ohio) Power and Light, Ruby went to Florida until accepting a job offer in Columbia, Md., consulting for General Physics Corp. in the mid-1980s.

When his first marriage ended, he went back to Florida for a time. Returning to Columbia, Ruby remarried and got active in church again.

The association between Whitmore and Ruby was strengthened in 2003, when Ruby's second wife died.

"Dennis got me through it," he said.

When the call came to be youth pastor at the little Clear Spring-area church, Ruby came onboard.

"I'm really excited about this work," he said.

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