Bishop Roy “Bud” Cederholm
In the mid- to late-1970s, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in White River Junction welcomed a brand-new minister: Rev. Roy “Bud” Cederholm. “We were Bud’s first parish,” remembers former vestry member Leslie Black. “He was young, enthusiastic, and eager to try things.”
It was a moment prophetic in the founding of the Upper Valley Haven. Before long, Cederholm became part of a prayer group with Rev. Richard Cockrell of St. James in Woodstock and several of their respective parishioners trying to discern what God was calling them to do in the Upper Valley. The group observed that they “consistently saw people who needed shelter and support, and we couldn’t always help them through our individual congregations,” Cederholm recalled in a 2014 interview for a Haven publication.
Founding a shelter then seemed to be the next logical step. “In 1981, a local benefactor came forward to help us purchase the farmhouse next to St. Paul’s,” Cederholm noted. “Clergy and laity who founded and helped grow the Haven in the early years were deeply sustained by an Inward Journey of regular prayer, study, spiritual reflection, and community building.”
He recalls one his fondest memories as the opening and blessing of the Haven just before Christmas in 1981. “The shelter host couple’s last name was Church, and they welcomed the first family, the Bishops. That was the sign that we were on the right track; it still gives me chills just thinking about it.”
Funding was a challenge for the fledgling organization. “We relied on the churches and their congregations to keep the Haven running. We had decided from the very beginning not to accept government funds, because it wasn’t a stable source of funding. It wasn’t until Suzanne Stofflet joined us [on the board] that we had anyone with fundraising experience on our team.”
“I’ve always told the story of the Haven to other churches and communities and have dreamed that the Haven could be replicated in other parts of New England,” recollected Cederholm, who became the Rt. Rev. Roy “Bud” Cederholm. “The Haven isn’t just a shelter; it provides guests with the tools to help them succeed. It has deepened my heart and my faith.”