Friday, May 11, 2012
For many, the annual Blessing of the Inlet is a time to enjoy a funnel cake, buy some arts and crafts, or show off their shagging skills.
But at its heart, the Blessing is a time to take a moment to stop and give thanks for the life sustaining waters of the inlet and to ask God to watch over them for another year.
Belin Memorial United Methodist Church started the Blessing in 1997 to give back to the community with fun, food and fellowship.
Arts and crafts
That tradition continued on Saturday, when the 16th version of the event featured more than 70 arts and crafts vendors, food from local restaurants, children’s games and activities, a dunking booth and entertainment.
The Rev. Mike Alexander, Belin’s senior pastor, said the event raised more than $60,000 for the church’s outreach programs and ministries.
“It was a success for the church, success for our outreach ministry, and success for the community,” Alexander said. “There’s no doubt the community reached back to Belin.”
As the clock neared 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, a huge crowd gathered on the lawn between the church and the marsh to listen to the church’s Chancel Choir and wait for the blessing ceremony.
The sound of bagpipes heralded the arrival of the Alexander and the Rev. Marty Nason, Belin’s assistant pastor. After Nason read a litany of blessings, Alexander offered the blessing, sprinkling holy water to the north, south, east and west.
In the past few years, parishioners have adopted the phrase “See Ya Saturday” as a reminder to people to attend the Blessing. Many Belin members wore “See Ya Saturday” stickers on their Blessing of the Inlet T-shirts.
This year many wore stickers that read “See Ya Sunday,” an invitation for people to come back the next day, and in the future, for Belin’s services.
Alexander said he noticed new people in church on Sunday that had also attended the Blessing.
By Chris Sokoloski
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