Wednesday, March 30, 2011


We are not what you would call "church going" people.  But, when the lovely Delores invited us to church with her, we couldn't say no.  It's not every day you get invited to a local church in the Bahamas by a 79 year old woman who also happens to own the most hopping bar on the Cay (pronounced "Key" to clear up any confusion).

We met Delores and her daughter, Kaye, at 10:45am on Sunday morning wearing our "sunday bests" (bikinis and board shorts weren't going to fly) and hopped into the back of their pick-up truck.  We ambled along the dirt road until we finally came to a simple, understated, white little church with a painted sign propped up our front reading, "St. Johns Baptist Church".

None of us had ever been to a baptist church before, but we knew we were in for a treat.  Locals (most of whom we had met the night before at the bar!) strutted in from all over dressed to the nines.  The women were in all their plumage - colorful dresses and big, beautiful hats.  The men stood tall in brightly colored suits. The children in khakis and little party dresses wearing patent leather shoes.

The service began with song.  LOTS of song.  Not the slow and boring churchy stuff I remember from childhood, but vibrant, lively song with lots and lots of "Amen's!" and "Hallelujahs!" spontaneously interjected.  People were stomping their feet, clapping their hands and praising the lord left and right.  The room reached a full on Baptist fever pitch.

The message was one of perseverance: "The best is yet to come".  They spoke of community, of togetherness, of love and how it is what makes the world go 'round (a message I 'preach' all the time).  The children got up and sang, their little voices echoing with words of thankfulness, appreciation and their love of God.  It was adorable.

Then the preacher approached the podium slow and purposefully.  WOW.  I don't know if all Baptist preachers are like Mrs. Pearl Maycock, but this woman had pipes!  She was screaming (yes, actually screaming!) and yelling so loud I looked at the children to see if they were scared, but their calm faces told me this was how it was done.  She gave us a lovely welcome and thanked us for being there, and then continued on with her fervor and vigor.  What a presence.  There was no doubting how this woman had become a community leader - she has an obvious strength of spirit.  She was inspirational and honest and she was most definitely a woman of the Lord.

After church, we were invited to a lunch to honor her.  We were treated to a feast of Bahamian goodness consisting of ribs, chicken, fish, rice and beans, baked macaroni and, of course, delicious Bahamian desserts.  We felt awful for showing up empty handed, but these wonderful people just shook their heads and scooped up more food for us.  It is amazing the kindness and generosity they possess.  This tiny Cay with it's tiny population is more like a family than a village.  They all know one another, they all look out for one another, they are a true community.  There is but one policeman who doesn't even have a car!  The children run free in the streets and there is an overwhelming feeling of peace and security here.

While we weren't "saved" that day, we certainly saw something special in this community.  Something is most definitely at work here.  Whether you call it God, or the Universe, or Jesus, or Allah or just people being good to one another...this is a place of pure goodness, generosity and community.

And I can say "AMEN" to that!


Nicki said...

This gave me goosebumps! So happy you are having such an amazing trip. You bring me hope.

Mid-Life Cruising! said...

Sounds like a jewel of a place! We need more communities like this one, where children can safely play in the streets and people actually care about each other. We're not church goers, but we'll have to attend when in the area!

Bill said...

Looks like you had a great experience. Sorry to read you weren't ready to accept the Lord's invitation, yet. Once you do, that "overwhelming feeling of peace and security" will be available to you always, wherever you are.

Beth Mosher said...

Going to a Baptist church should be on everyone's bucket list. It's an unbelievable experience - fills the soul no matter what one's beliefs are.

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