Dear Parishioners and Friends,

We are just back from our vacation in Provincetown on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. We arrived late on Saturday night, which meant that our getaway really began the following Sunday morning as it always does there by attending Mass at St. Mary of the Harbor Episcopal Church.

Outside, it’s a tidy clapboard structure with a lovely garden situated right on the water, as the name implies. The interior is very atmospheric, as it seems to have been constructed from the wreckage of more than a few old ships, complete with weathered wood, lanterns, and a chandelier with candle spikes made of harpoons. The walls are adorned with beautiful art rendered by local artists from several generations. The whole space probably seats 150 people at most, and is always full of tourists and friendly locals alike.

As the old ship’s bell announces the beginning of the service, the small but powerful organ introduces the hymn, which is then sung with (mostly baritone) gusto by all in attendance (as usual, Pete was complimented on his beautiful hymn singing). The Rector, whose southern drawl always comes as a surprise on Cape Cod, delivered a thoughtful sermon. It is always a delight to hear someone else preach for a change. Now, not every little detail was “my cup of tea,” but that’s not the point. The point is that we strangers were welcomed warmly by another community of faith. Though there were differences in our style, there was a sense of unity in our faith, devotion, and mission.

Visiting another church while you are away is a wonderful way to experience your faith “out of the box.” By doing so, you are able to better appreciate what you love about your own church, and maybe bring home some good ideas about how to make our life together an even better vision of God’s kingdom on earth. I encourage you to visit another church in your summer travels, maybe one with a different liturgical or musical tradition than our own, and experience for yourself the unity within the breadth of the Episcopal Church.

Father Rick