The start of the gospel during Sunday service isn’t supposed to raise a chuckle.
But Rev. Bradford Clark couldn’t help it. A goose honked. Some crows briefly joined the chorus but, on the whole, the domestic and wild animals in the neighborhood didn’t disturb proceedings.
This wasn’t the annual celebration of St. Francis where pets are allowed into Clark’s Ascension Memorial Church. It was an outdoor service at Appleton Farms Sunday morning and all were invited. The event took place outside the Old House where the porch was used for the altar and choir. Church goers sat in chairs on the lawn where they had their choice of praying in full sun or shade.
“It was such a beautiful morning, it was perfect,” said Tom Gerbe. He is not a parishioner, he added, but came because he liked the idea and saw that all were invited.
There are historic links between the Appleton family and Ascension. The church was built 150 years ago with a grant from Samuel Appleton but, in his sermon, Clark also spoke of the links between nature and faith.
Both nature and churches serve as sanctuaries, he said. “Without sanctuary there is no freedom--don’t take either for granted,” Clark added.