My sister-in-law and brother-in-law have a terrific marriage! I attribute the strength of their marriage in part to the fact that they have always made faith and religion an integral part of their lives. Unlike most of us, they go to church every weekend. It doesn’t matter where they are or what they are doing they find a church, get the service schedule, and off they go. I thought about this a lot when my marriage was going through a very rough patch.
Relationships falter for lots of reasons, not just the absence of church attendance and I decided it was time for a serious make-over. It was time to change absolutely everything! I sold my family home, bought a Dufour 500GL sailboat, moved aboard and got a little Cavachon puppy to be my alarm system. All that was missing was the thing about practicing a more faith-centered life.
I am a cradle Episcopalian, which means I have been one my whole existence, different from many Episcopalians who come to the faith later in life. I have also been for most of that time (except when my children were young) a C & E, Episcopalian, as in attendance at Christmas and Easter services only. I wanted to change this aspect of my life along with the boat and the puppy – but how?
Then it occurred to me! Every Sunday, no matter what harbor I might have sailed into, I would find an Episcopal Church and walk to it for Sunday morning services. It turned out to be a fabulous idea. Not only did I get back in touch with the beauty and solace going to church brings, but I discovered all these magnificent churches, full of equally spectacular parishioners and clergy.
The Episcopal Church is the American version of the Church of England and a member of the Anglican Community. It has been in the U.S. since well before the revolution. For that reason, in harbors all up and down the east coast of the United States, it is not hard to find an Episcopal Church perched within walking distance of the shoreline.
From my sailing on Sundays, I have developed a guide to share these unique houses of worship with anyone who wants to explore, learn and celebrate the parishes of the Episcopal Church set picturesquely along America’s shoreline. These congregations are more than just buildings, of course, but the buildings are well worth visiting. One can savor the history while getting some nourishment for the soul and I have thrown in some ideas for after service brunch to give you a bit of a flavor for the community these parishes serve.
The site is ever-expanding as I sail to new communities – so check back often. The guide is simple – pick a state, then a town and then a parish. I try to find harbors with churches, so the discoveries are exciting on many fronts. There is also the occasional church, worth a cab ride, long walk or renting a bike. I don’t like the notion of “worth” because all churches are worth it, but the idea of this guide is to make it easy to get to the parishes, yet in some cases an exception must be made.