What Gives You Hope?

Tomorrow, August 3rd, we will celebrate the life of Virginia McCann. A pioneer in nursing in Boston, Ginny headed a department at Brigham and Womens Hospital. An avid golfer, she played at the semi-pro level. A beloved member of Pilgrim Church, she and her partner Marie were the first gay couple to be married in our congregation. She died in June at Liberty Commons and will be laid to rest in our Memorial Garden at 10 a.m.; her service will be at 11 in the sanctuary.


Most Wednesday evenings this summer Peggy and I have been working at the Summer Strolls. We started helping on the first week because Debbie Larsson and Becky Sullivan, Stroll organizers, told us that they were needed more volunteers for opening night. But we working at the strolls each week because it is so much fun.

Hundreds people flood out onto the sidewalks on Wednesday evenings to spend a summer night strolling up and down Main St. in Harwich Port. They listen to local bands scattered from Doane Park to Ember, browse in the shop and linger chatting as the daylight wanes. Many are tourists and plenty are year-round residents. Lots of kids collect freebies and the spirit on the street is one of easy exchanges and fun. It harkens back to a time when people had a sense of leisure at the end of the day.

For many years now the church has been grilling hamburgers and hotdogs on the lawn and providing a lovely spot to sit at a table under our big trees. Children run on the grass; adults stop to chat; people relax for a while. This year we added our History Display and Marion Mangles volunteered to be the docent while the display is open to the public. In the last two weeks over 150 people have visited the display to learn about the Abolitionists on Cape Cod and the Islands.

This week we also had an Art Show in Monbleau Hall. Thanks to the gracious gift of dozens of watercolor paintings contributed by artist and member, Nicki Palmer. Peggy O’Connor organized an art show and dozens of people came in to see the work, many buying a print or jewelry made by Nicki.

This week we also added a wooden board out on the lawn with a question - What Gives You Hope? Lots of children and adults huddled to use the sharpies and write something. Often, the Thrift Store is open on Wednesday evenings for shoppers.

For my part, I’m a floater, having graduated through a lot of jobs. I started doing the credit card sales for the food, but this week I trained a replacement and Doris Berard proved to be a quick study, so I made myself irrelevant in that department. Then I tried to help with the orders, but Carrie Wailgum had that job well in hand. Then I found I was needed handing out the drinks. So, I like to float, greeting everyone, meeting someone here from Los Angeles whose mom was buried from our church, chatting with a nice family from Texas who love Harwich Port, talking British tv with a couple from Manchester. These evenings offer an iconic summer treat, providing people with spacious time to visit, to strengthen their ties as neighbors or build brand new connections.

Pilgrim Church is such an important part of town life, and our lawns and programs really put the welcome mat out to the larger community. I love these moments when we own our place as a spiritual presence at the heart of our community. As we seek to find new ways to serve the wider world, I am grateful for for Becky and Debbie and all our teams of weekly volunteers and who serve as church ambassadors, with hearty hamburgers and good hospitality.

Hope to see you next Wednesday,

Rev. Susan

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