It was a great week of visiting, fishing and sightseeing, but it was now time to go back to Georgetown and Elizabeth harbour to await Andrew and Amy’s arrival at the end of the month. We moved the boat back out of Joe Sound and anchored out in front of the beach where Pete and Christie’s house is. It was a bit of a rolly night, but we were up at dawn and headed back across Exuma Sound in very light wind. We arrived back at around 11:00. This time we anchored over at Monument beach as that was where our friends Bob and Diane on “Two of a Kind” were. We visited with them and learn more about the area. They are leaving at the end of the week to go attend the birth of their next Grand Child. They keep their boat here in Georgetown year round and come down and use it through the winter.
As there is a front (or two) on the way we consider where we might go to anchor to gain some comfort from the wind and the seas. Stocking Island provides great protection from the prevailing easterlies but can become rather unruly in a south or west wind. We learn about a group of anchorages behind Crab Cay known as Red Shanks Anchorages.
There are 4 different spots for a bunch of boats. It is regarded as a hurricane hole, which affords protection from the seas 360 degrees. It is generally entered at high tide due to the rather skinny water and the entrance and between the holes inside. We move the boat down to Hole number 1 and wait there while the wind does clock 360 degrees over the next several days. Since the wind was not much above 15 or 20 it may have been a bit of overkill but we did meet another interesting couple and had a great time snorkeling as well.
As sunday approaches we are up in the air about where we might go to church. There are two options and both will have their challenges. The first option is to check out “Beach Church” which is held at Chat N Chil it is a Volunteer lead interdenominational service run by the boating community. The other option would be to go to St. Andrews Church in Georgetown. Our immediate problem is distance and weather. For either location it would be about an hour of travel time in our dinghy. Then there is the weather, which is looking thunderstormish. Remember this it the same weekend that most churches in Maritime Canada had to reschedule or cancel their services. The system that is affecting them is the same system (much warmer) that we are dealing with. It stretches all the way from Cuba up to Newfoundland.
The Beach Church begins at 9:30 and we are back and forth as to go or not, when we look at the sky and it looks particularly dark. We decide to wait and see what it will be like in an hour and then try to make the 11:00 at St. Andrews. Within a few minutes we hear on the radio that they have canceled Beach Church. By 10:00 the sky is looking reasonable so we set out up the inside of Crab Cay, under the bridge, around February Point and into Lake Victoria. We walk up to the Church, getting there at about 10:40
We note that there is a keyboard and drum kit, along with all the other fixtures and decor you would find in any traditional Anglican Church. After our experience in Bimini, we are anticipating an alive vibrant community of believers with richness and diversity in their worship tradition…. we are not disappointed! St. Andrews Parish is the hub church for the Exuma Island area. It has a school and is active in many community ministries.
The service lasts nearly 2 1/2 hours, which we are regarding as quite normal. Another visiting family from a resort we note: is sitting behind us and when the notice the drummer walk in, sticks in hand, they move to the other side of the Church. We eventually notice that they don’t make it to the end of the service. Must have been a bit much for them I guess.
I would not have believed it unless I had experienced it. My hope has always been that each of the traditions are firmly routed in the work of the spirit of God and has in it all of the very best intentions. As with any tradition, they ways that we do things can eventually get mechanized, wooden, devoid of spirit or locked into some kind of legalism. Within my view of the Anglican Church there are two main traditions and a third that has come of late. These are, the Anglo-Catholic movement, The Low Church/Evangelical movement and of late the Renewal or Charismatic movement. Across Canada and in many other places you can find examples of these traditions that are full functioning models of the body of Christ. You can find them in healthy condition or in complete disfunction or anywhere in between. The thing that we have experienced here however is very unique. It is a blending together of all the traditions, without loosing or compromising anything.
The service began with a number of songs and hymns as a preparation time. As the people continued to arrive the strength of the singing and sense of deeply engaged worship increased. At this point neither the opening hymn, nor the opening sentence had happened. This was 20 minutes into the service. Once again we experienced the full depth of an Anglo Catholic Service, with Evangelical preaching and charismatic freedom and anointing.
Later in the week I visited with Ethan, the Rector to ask him about this blend, that we had experienced now on two different islands. It seems that the reason for it was that when the Charismatic renewal happened it was embraced by the Bishops and other significant leaders It was intentionally integrated into the liturgical tradition of the time, which was quite traditional. The result is something very precious.
After the service we thought we would get something to eat before we took the long ride back to the boat. We found however that there was not one restaurant open. It was Sunday. It is still a day of rest in the Bahamas! We knew that there was a weekly Pig Roast happening over at Chat N Chill on Stocking Island, so we headed over there in the dinghy.
Because of the fronts that rolled through this past week we had time to do some Repairs and upgrades. Amoung them was to oil the teak, install a new bow roller, fix my centerboard crank holder, repair a crack in the salon table fiddle, make a conch horn etc.
On Thursday we move back out of Red Shanks and anchor in front of Georgetown to do laundry, get water and provision. Friday morning is the first time we have had not had excessive wind in well over a week.