Finding Time in a World on the Run

50 years ago, God led Edith and Francis Schaeffer to Switzerland where they opened their home to people searching for the meaning in life. Today, L’Abri Fellowship continues to serve as a place for busy folks to retreat and reflect. Dick Keyes has been leading the branch outside of Boston for 30 years and has insights into the pressures many modern parents and educators face. He offers helpful suggestions for ways to find rest, even for those who can’t make their way to a branch of L’Abri!

L'abriDick Keyes is director emeritus of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough, Massachusetts, where he has worked with his wife and family since 1979. He holds a B.A. in History from Harvard University, and an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.

Dick has worked for L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland and in England, where he served also as a pastor in the International Presbyterian Church in London for eight years. He has been an adjunct professor at Gordon Conwell Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary.

He is the author of Beyond Identity, True Heroism, Chameleon Christianity, Seeing Through Cynicism, and several chapters in anthologies such as No God But God, ed. Os Guinnes, Finding God at Harvard, ed. Kelly Monroe, and New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics from Intervarsity Press. He is currently writing a book on the significance of Jesus’ questions. He has lectured widely in the U.S. and also in Europe and Korea.

As with many workers in L’Abri, Dick’s interests are many and varied. If there is any integrating idea it is the attempt to connect important aspects of modern life to Biblical truth with a theological, apologetic and pastoral concern. His writing on identity, heroism and cynicism, for example, are efforts to help Christians toward a more integrated and engaged faith, but also to help those who are not Christians to be able to see the claims of Jesus from a fresh perspective. Dick enjoys reading, working in the woods, rowing and playing blues and ragtime guitar for self-therapy.

Dick and Mardi are minority members of an African American Church, which has enriched their lives and experience of worship enormously. Dick is a member of the Ministerial Team.

Mardi graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in Biblical History in 1968. Shortly after graduation, she married Dick Keyes, and in 1970, they moved to Europe to work with L’Abri. They spent six months in Switzerland, and eight and a half years in England (London and Greatham). While working with L’Abri in London, a very multicultural church met in their home.

In 1979, the Keyes moved to Southborough, Massachusetts, where, along with the Seagren family from the Swiss L’Abri, they opened the first residential branch of L’Abri in the United States. Mardi’s work at home includes hospitality, serving meals, tutoring students and managing their work, teaching and writing. She also travels in the United States and abroad, to speak at conferences, colleges and universities.

Since about 1980, Dick and Mardi have been on the Board of Help a Child, a charitable Christian organization providing homes, food, healthcare, education and job training to orphans and other poor children in India and Africa.

Mardi has lectured on a variety of topics, including hospitality, the problem of evil, the family, children, adolescence, youth culture, the Christian mind, feminism and other gender issues. Mardi has published a number of articles, and a booklet entitled Feminism & the Bible. She also contributed a chapter in response to Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, in the book, Women and the Future of the Family. In her lectures and writing, Mardi relates Biblical teaching to social history and contemporary culture.

Mardi and Dick are the parents of three grown sons, and are grandparents of five! Chris, the oldest, lives nearby in Massachusetts, is a State Police officer, is married to Liz and has two sons, Owen and James. Tim, their middle son, is an ornithologist and wildlife biologist (who has spoken on the biblical environmental ethic at L’Abri conferences). Tim’s wife Alice is also an environmentalist with expertise in water resources. They live in Brunswick on the southern coast of Georgia and have one daughter, Molly. Ben, their youngest son is married to Nickaela and they have both joined us working in L’Abri here in Southborough. They have twin daughters, Ellie and Abby who are a wonderful presence in the L’Abri house.