Who works at Southborough L’Abri?
L’Abri is run by Workers who live and work on-site, year round. L’Abri is their home; you could say the first job of a Worker is to be a home-maker. Additionally, Workers care for the property, foster the “sheltering” spirit of L’Abri, prepare and host meals and discussions, teach through tutoring, lecturing and other formal and informal times, and seek to live lives that demonstrate the reality of God’s grace and provision.
Ben Keyes grew up in Massachusetts at the Southborough L’Abri with the impression that having crowds of strangers in his home was a normal thing. From an early age he loved to play music. When he was in high school his family joined an African American church and Ben became involved in the music ministry—learning how to play gospel piano and bass guitar. He attended Brown University where he studied ethnomusicology. In 2002 he spent 6 months studying at the English L’Abri.
Ben studied Theology and the Arts at Regent College in Vancouver and directed a large gospel choir as part of his final thesis project. While at Regent, Ben and two of his classmates started a folk trio called Ordinary Time which sings both original songs and arrangements of old hymns. Ordinary Time has recorded 5 albums to date.
In 2007 Ben and Nickaela began working at the Southborough L’Abri and have been there ever since. In 2016 Ben and Nickaela became co-directors of the Southborough branch. They have twin daughters and a son. Ben loves to cook, lead music at his church, give lectures, read to his children, carve wooden birds, play the banjo and tie flies.
Nickaela Fiore-Keyes is the co-director of L’Abri Fellowship in Southborough. She first came to L’Abri in 2003 from California, after graduating from Azusa Pacific University. From 2005-2007, Nickaela and her husband Ben attended Regent College in Vancouver, Canada, where she studied Theology and Culture.
In 2007, while pregnant with twin girls, she and Ben returned to work at L’Abri in Southborough. She enjoys reading, being at the ocean, quiet mornings and comfy pants. On any given evening, Nickaela can be found working on her letterpress in her basement or making jewelry.
She has three children: twin girls and a son who all attend the Imago School and are a constant source of joy, goodness, perplexity, and wonder.
Joshua originally hails from Brooklyn, New York but has lived in the Deep South as well as on the West Coast. He received his Master of Arts in Theology from Regent College in beautiful Vancouver, BC where he also met and married his wife Sarah.
Prior to being at L’Abri, Joshua was employed as a house painter, a mental health worker and a pool-cleaner (but not all at the same time). Joshua’s teaching interests usually revolve around the Bible as well as the intersection of Christian faith with post-Christian culture.
If he can’t be found doing a project around the house or with his nose in some book, he’s most likely either playing with his two young kids or attempting to fly fish.
Sarah grew up in a small, rural community in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, outside Yosemite National Park. Her parents own a small furniture manufacturing business and she has fond childhood memories of days spent at the workshop making sawdust and woodchip pizzas with her younger sister.
After college, Sarah taught English in the Czech Republic for two years, then went to Regent College in Vancouver, BC for her Master’s in Christianity and the Arts, where she met Joshua. The Chestnuts have been at Southborough L’Abri since 2013. They have two children, Jacob and Lily. Sarah loves writing poetry, gardening, and making sourdough bread. She also loves the stone walls of New England, the walking trails near L’Abri, and Indian food.
Autumn used to be her favorite season, but after five winters in Southborough, now it’s Spring. Sarah makes pizza for family pizza night every week—not with sawdust and woodchips.
Mary Frances Giles
Mary Frances Giles has worked for L’Abri in Southborough since 2010. A native of Tennessee, she has lived in the greater Boston area for over 20 years and is a member of Park Street Church in Boston. She received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Georgia and a Masters Degree from Boston University, both in the area of speech-language pathology.
She worked as a pediatric speech pathologist for over ten years in both schools and hospitals in the Boston area before moving into the non-profit sector. At L’Abri, Mary Frances’ interests lean toward the relationship between the Christian faith and practical daily life, and how our personal stories intersect with the larger story God is writing for the world.
When she’s not at L’Abri you are most likely to find her at the beach, kayaking, exploring new restaurants with friends, or searching for that ever-elusive perfect shade of lipstick.
Dave was born and raised in Canada and worked at a bank for 10 years while pursuing his studies. It was a great job, but not a calling. After attending Tyndale University for Biblical Studies he went on to study philosophy at York University in Toronto for his Bachelor’s, and then completed a Master’s with a concentration in Spiritual Theology at Regent College, Vancouver.
After backpacking Europe, Dave ended up at the Swiss L’Abri where he met Anna, his lovely wife-to-be. Their two delightful sons were born in Ohio where Dave worked in a church as a Youth Director. He then had an itching to live bi-vocationally which led him to become a professional firefighter/paramedic, and an ordained Anglican minister.
The Friedrichs then spent some time working at the Swiss L’Abri before landing at Southborough L’Abri. Dave was an on-call firefighter in Switzerland and continues to be one in Southborough, where he is discovering the joy of stand-up paddle boarding.
Anna grew up in southern Virginia, playing guitar, frequenting thrift stores, and dreaming of being a missionary in Africa or in the Amazon someday. After a semester abroad in Nairobi, Kenya, and a brief stint studying music, she read one shining paragraph in a book by Steve Garber that mentioned a place in Switzerland called L’Abri, where questions were welcome, so she packed her bags and headed to Europe.
A two-month stay at L’Abri turned into two years, an engagement, a wedding, and a little later – a baby! She went on to work at several churches in the role of Worship Director, but has spent most of her adult life homeschooling her two sons, Cole and Adam (and she may have written one hit youtube song about the periodic table). Anna has been back in L’Abri work since 2013, when she and her family moved to Switzerland to serve there for four years. Since 2017, she has been a part of the Southborough L’Abri team, enjoying a new-found love of poetry, and a new-found ability to cope with winter in New England. She loves to teach the Bible most of all, but also enjoys leading discussions on spiritual disciplines and practices, poetry, creation care, and butterflies.
Anna is currently working towards a Graduate Diploma through Regent College in Canada.
Dick & Mardi Keyes
Dick Keyes is the former director 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 Guinness, 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. 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.
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.