Slacks and sweaters in the summer make for a miserable combination as do no air conditioning and Connecticut heat and humidity. That being said, I know nothing of fashion beyond the fact that I own too many pairs of tennis shoes! Shorts and sandals quite frankly are more my thing, that's part of the beauty of what's known as beach church. For those who are not aware, church does not actually conclude in the school year and pick back up after Labor Day, in Westport it brings the pews to the views of Compo Beach.
Sunday service in the sand is the brainchild of Greens Farms Church Reverend Bill Bryant who years ago teamed up with his UCC colleague down the street at Saugatuck Church, Rev. Ted Hoskins. Prior to the beach service, they each closed their meetinghouse for one month (depending in part on vacation schedules) for cleaning and repairs. The practice has evolved over the years and has come to include the Methodist Church, Norfield Congregational and most recently, Wilton Congregational in addition to GFC and Saugutuck. It's everything you'd expect with the notable exception of Sunday school for the kids, but bring along their buckets and shovels and you'll find them surprisingly devout. Father of two and beach church regular Craig says, "we like it for the same reasons we like going to church during the rest of the year, but in spirit with the summer, it's more casual and relaxed, and when it's over you're at the beach."
Full disclosure, this weekend morning cable news anchor is generally reading the teleprompter rather than scripture on Sunday's but recently had my daughter Logan baptized in the holy water of our Long Island Sound. The beautiful but brief ceremony followed an entertaining sermon by John Twiname. If your child can handle the heavy christening gown in the August heat and handling of a perfect stranger (in our case the wonderful Amy Forte) it's one of our area's most unforgettable experiences.
How often can you combine Biblical verses and bare feet? Said Westport resident Victoria Lieber, "there's no dress code, no pews to fill or even doors to open. Just take a look at the weather and grab a beach chair. (And you don't even need that.) The kids can listen and look for seaglass at the same time. And there's something about being by the water that makes it more spiritual in a sense." Who can argue with that?
Church officials estimate anywhere between 150 and 300 people attend the sandy service which is just next to Compo's cannons and often includes surprisingly pleasant music and is at times is followed by bagels, juice and if I'm involved, Bloody Mary's and Mimosas have been rumored to make an appearance! Soon enough we'll all be back in our sweaters and slacks, not to mention coats, hats and even scarf's so add some spirituality to your summer routine and dress down as you pray to a higher power.
Anchor Weekend FOX & Friends, 6-10 ET FOX News Channel
Married to wife, Brandi, father of three; Emerson, William and Logan
Avid sports fan, fitness enthusiast, Westport resident going on 4 years