Dear members and friends of St. James the Fisherman,
We hope this letter finds you and your family well. It has been another challenging year in the season of COVID-tide. The respite of summer is past; another long winter is looming. Still, we look back on the summer of 2021 with some fond memories.
Wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping appropriate social distance, we were able to worship inside the Chapel, welcoming returning members, newcomers, visitors, and wonderful preachers and musicians. We gathered on the patio for lively conversations and coffee hours complete with pre-packaged Oreos. We met at Mayo beach for picnics and potlucks, and we came together in a few large homes for oyster tastings and cocktail parties. We visited on porches, in backyards, and at outdoor dining venues. We saw each other on walks, bike rides, sailboats, golf courses, tennis courts, and the many and varied ocean beaches and ponds of Wellfleet and the Outer Cape. Over the course of the summer, we bid farewell to old friends and made new ones. We laughed and cried together as we began to find our way in this new frontier. Once again, we demonstrated that for a few months every summer, the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman becomes an intentional and hospitable community—even in the midst of a pandemic.
In mid-June, when we opened the doors and windows of the Chapel for the first time in over a year, there were lots of spider webs and mouse droppings. One might have found it disconcerting; we found it comforting. It was a reminder that while humans were not allowed to enter this sacred space, little creatures had found welcome and hospitality inside its walls. It was as if our absence had provided them with safe refuge. One of the blessings of the pandemic has been the brief but important environmental sabbath it created—a reminder that the earth could heal itself if we give it a fighting chance. It’s also a reminder that the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman doesn’t exist for itself, but rather as a sign of God’s love for the world, especially Wellfleet and the fragile but beautiful Outer Cape and all those who live here—humans and creatures alike (including the sharks).
For most of our nearly 70 years in Wellfleet, the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman has been committed to supporting programs and services that benefit the lives of residents on the Outer Cape. Every year, we aim to donate 50% of the contributions we receive directly to a dozen or so organizations that support those in need in Wellfleet, Eastham, Truro, and Provincetown. Your generosity helps deliver meals to shut-in seniors, provides hope and housing to people out of or unable to work, supports abused women who have nowhere else to turn, provides transportation to and from the hospital, funds camperships for local kids, and keeps those living with dementia healthy and connected.
In 2019, our outreach giving amounted to $38,500; in 2020, when we were not able to worship together, we made $32,000 in outreach contributions, representing about 80% of all donations received. With your continued generosity in this Fall Appeal, we hope to exceed our pre-pandemic grant level and give back to the community $40,000 in outreach grants. You can support this effort by donating with a check mailed to the address above, or with a credit card via our website www.stjameschapelwellfleet.org.
Thanks to the wonders of Zoom, the Chapel’s dedicated and capable vestry will continue to meet over the winter months to maintain our buildings and grounds, revamp our website, and plan for summer 2022. God willing and COVID waning, we intend to begin the chapel season on Sunday, June 19, offering weekly worship and patio conversations as well as special programs and community gatherings, through Sunday, September 11.
On behalf of the Chapel of St. James the Fisherman, we wish you a safe, healthy winter and hope to see you next summer. Please keep us posted about what you are up to, and make sure we have current contact information, especially your email address if you would like to receive occasional updates as our Summer 2022 plans take shape, as well as our summer weekly newsletter.
You can always reach us at [email protected].
With blessings and gratitude,
Tracey Lind, Priest-in-Charge
Martha Wilson, Senior Warden