A Matter of Faith  

Click HERE for a list of Churches


March 23, 2004

No longer being plugged into a community is an aspect of cruising life that is difficult for some people. Though, for me, I have not found that to be too troublesome. After all, my friends and family keep in frequent contact with me by phone and email. We also have been enjoying the regular and frequent company of buddy boaters with kids. And, frankly, I was glad to get out of the over plugged in life my family and I had made on land. I do however miss going to church.

The church I attended regularly at home, Calvary Bible Church (www.MyCalvary.com) was an awesome and inspiring church. I really miss the music, the pastor and the flock. The fellowship was great and the folks were friendly, welcoming and helpful. The praise and worship band was inspiring and moving, I mean they could really rock! The message was always right on and excellently delivered. It filled me up. We also attended Our Lady of Good Council Roman Catholic Church as a family.

Cruising down the waterway, you can sometimes see steeples embedded in the skylines of the towns as you pass by. But, with few dinghy landings, the lack of local knowledge and the need to hoof on foot everywhere, more often than not, attending church is too difficult. I do, however, try to attend a church when I can find one that I can get to. So that is why I wanted to write this piece. I want to document the Churches we have been fortunate to attend and note the others that seem accessible to cruisers.

The first church we attended outside of our hometown area was in Solomons, Md. My sister and her family had settled in there on their Trawler "Fairway" and had found a wonderful church named Southern Calvert Baptist Church. It is a great church and they have really become plugged into it and it's many wonderful activities.

The next church I attended was not until Miami. Bob had gone back to Jersey for ten days. He had left the girls and me in Miamarina in Downtown Miami. Low and behold there was a Methodist Church just a ten minute walk from the marina. So the girls and I hoofed in and attended the service. They had a guest speaker that day who was a Bishop of the Methodist Church in India. He shared the great news of how the church has been able to do so much good work in that impoverished country. When we left, the pastor noticed we were new and asked us where we were from. When I told him South Jersey, he told us he used to be in a church in Camden, NJ, just outside Philadelphia, not far from our hometown. Small world isn't it?

We landed in Marathon shortly thereafter. Everything is close by but not really that close by in Marathon. I let my fingers do the walking and found the least difficult church to go to was the New Life Assembly of God. They had a contemporary praise and worship band that was very good. Pastor Keith LaFountain presented an excellent message. The place was packed with standing room only by service time and it echoed the layed back, relaxed attitude of the Florida Keys. While spending a few weeks in Marathon, I overheard on the radio a few times other cruisers discuss attending church. It then occurred to me that I was not the only cruiser on the water that was seeking a place to worship.

One of our buddy boats, Gloria A Dios, also likes to attend church. So, now in Newfound Harbor, we set out on the quest of finding a church to attend. There was a Methodist and Southern Baptist Church right by the supermarket. The Lutheran and Episcopal churches 2-3 miles further. Then there was The Vineyard another quarter mile up from the market just off US 1 and the Catholic Church a mile past that. Dennis and Mary were familiar with The Vineyard (a chain so to speak) and recommended we try it. We hoofed in to find a church wonderfully like my Calvary but even bigger. The band was awesome and Pastor Steve's message was fabulous. The folks were friendly and the fellowship was good. We left feeling filled up and refreshed (the breakfast and cappuccino helped too after the long walk). Big Pine Vineyard Christian Fellowship has a great website www.BPVCF.com and links to other Vineyard churches.

As we continue to cruise and find more churches, I will add to this list. I hope to bring the cruising community to the attention of these churches in hopes that the churches may be able to start a ministry that reaches out to the needs of the cruisers. If folks can recommend churches (or synagogues, mosques or other places of worship) convenient to cruisers I would also like to post that information. Contact me with info.

Thx,
Betsey

Band at The Vineyard Church

Matt. Alex, Devon and Risa at The Vineyard

CHURCHES we know how to get to:

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Somers Point, NJ:
Calvary Bible Church (www.MyCalvary.com) 901 New York Ave. Somers Point, NJ can be reached a short ways off the Ocean City, NJ ICW by anchoring in Rainbow Channel then dinghying up toward the Ship's Channel Bridge, landing at the public beach about 1/4 mile before (north of) the bridge. Locate the hospital off to the right (tall brick building with the windsock) and walk up that street (New York Avenue) about 8 blocks (west), cross US Rt. 9, the church is on the next block. There is also St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church a couple blocks north of the hospital on Shore Road.

Solomons, Md:
Southern Calvert Baptist Church 410-326-2365, 12140 H.G. Truman Rd, Lusby, in the Solomons area is a long walk or a reasonable bike ride from the dinghy dock on Back Creek. My sister has joined that church and is organizing a cruisers' ministry. Our Lady Star of Solomon Roman Catholic Church 410-326-3535 is on Solomons Road on Solomons Island and appears to be accessible by dinghy to the beach on their property though I have never been there.

Miami:
The United Methodist Church is located just across the street from the Bayside Mall. Miamarina is located within the mall complex.

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon:
New Life Assembly of God 305-743-7165 in Marathon is located at 4711 Overseas Highway, between Home Depot and Boater's World. You can use the Dinghy Dock at City Marina or Sombrero Dockside. There is St. Columba Episcopal Church 305-743-6412 located at 451 52nd St. Gulf, one block in off Overseas Highway, closer to the Boaters World. Community United Methodist Church 305-743-5107 is located at MM 48.5 Overseas Highway just across from the library about two blocks from City Marina. Calvary Baptist Church is about 3 miles east of the City Marina just off US-1, and the Catholic Church is about a mile further just over Vaca Cut.

Newfound Harbor, Big Pine Key:
Big Pine Vineyard Christian Fellowship 305-872-3404 www.BPVCF.com is located just off US-1 at 100 County Road about 1/4 mile east of the Key Deer Blvd. light on US-1, the Catholic Church is a mile past that (east). Big Pine Key First Baptist Church 305-872-2542 located at 300 Key Deer Blvd, and Big Pine United Methodist Church 305-872-2470 at 280 Key Deer Blvd. are both just past the Winn-Dixie shopping center. The Lutheran and Episcopal churches are 2-3 miles further up Key Deer Blvd.

Update:

John and Susan on SV-Alchemy provided me with www.masstimes.org.  A website that lists all the Roman Catholic Churches, their mass schedules, address and phone numbers in a large radius from a zip code you enter. Also, a  mass time phone number is 1-410-676-6000

Big Pine Key:
St. Peter
is by a wooden bridge in No Name Harbor off Coupon Bite.

Plantation Key:
San Pedro
is 12 miles from Key Largo Campground and Marina.

Key Largo:
St. Justin Martyr is 4 miles from Key Largo Campground and Marina

Naples:
St. Ann
is about mile from the City Dock.

Everglades City:
There is a nice community church just 2 blocks up Broadway from the city dock and the Rod and Gun Club.

Ft. Meyers Beach:
Beach United Methodist Church, 155 Bay Road, 239-463-9656, fmbumc@worldnet.att.net is located a very short walk south (about a block) from the Topps IGA dinghy landing, through the recreation field and sits between the school and public library.  The Presbyterian Church by the Sea is one block north of the Topps IGA.  St Peters Lutheran Church is about a mile south from Topps IGA.  The Roman Catholic Church is a couple miles further south.  These can be access by using the 25 cent Trolley that runs the island.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Additions would be appreciated. I provided phone numbers where I could to assist in determining service schedules.

Copyright 2004  By Southern Cross Productions. All Rights Reserved.
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