Seventh Day Adventists – 52 Churches

Over the Christmas holidays while visiting in-laws in San Francisco, I was invited to a party at a wine marker’s cave in the mountaintop town of Angwin, California. As we wound up the steep road my friend said, “This is a Seventh Day Adventist town and university.” We flashed past a big church, the campus of the Pacific Union College, and then on into the back roads to our destination.

Intrigued, I did some research on the religion. Here are the basics: an American denomination formed in the middle of the 19th century from the s0-called “Millerite” movement, and was formally organized in 1863 in Battle Creek, Michigan (remember Battle Creek), largely around the writings and vision of its prophet, Ellen G. White, a native of Gorham, Maine who wrote prolifically of her visions which began after she was hit in the face by a thrown rock while fleeing a 13 year old girl in Portland, Maine.

The Millerites were a group formed around 1850 in upstate New York who, based on a close reading of the Bible, predicted the Second Coming would occur in 1844. It didn’t. Again, I will spare you my borrowed pedantic knowledge and point you at the Wikipedia entry, which, as I assume with all Wiki entries, shares the input of the church, its members and officials and is as balanced a definition and history as you can find anywhere. The church is unique in several respects, notably the observance of a Saturday sabbath, a high proportion of vegetarians and abstemious practices, and a strong tradition of extroverted charity and public works from hospitals to higher education. Tithing is encouraged — more on that later — and church members do not join unions or other organizations aside from the church.

I believe there is only one Seventh Day Adventist congregation on Cape Cod. I live about five miles from the church on Route 28 in Osterville. It is a modest, contemporary structure set slightly back from the road in a stand of pine trees.

The Service

The parking lot was full — most churches seem to be enjoying strong attendance these days — and I entered the narthex along with a herd of young people dressed in their Sunday best. I was warmly greeted at the door, handed a program, and made my way into the main church hall where I took the customary back-pew-right-hand-side seat. As I settled in I put on my glasses to read the program but the temple piece fell off, victim of a lost screw. As I flustered around trying to fix the specs, a jovial man introduced himself, a local attorney who it turned out was also the church pianist. We talked for a few minutes, me explaining the purpose of my visit, he telling me about his beginnings as a Catholic. Before I could ask him about his conversion the pastor, Rev. Mark Gagnon introduced himself. The welcome was warm and effusive and I was made to feel right at home.

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Whereabouts 2.22-3.1

Another Cotuit-based week, the second in a row. Still heads down on budget and strategy for the fiscal year starting April 1, and preparing for another round of presentation next week in Raleigh.

Boston Tuesday night for a dinner with Digg
Wednesday – dinner in Rhode Island with a customer
Rest of the week focused on powerpoint — then down to Raleigh the following week to guest lecture at UNC’s Keenan-Flagler business school, executive presentations, etc.

Hey, American Airlines just made me Platinum, so now I have that going for me. …..

First motorboat ride and swim of 2010

Saturday and the sun was beaming down and melting the grey snowdrifts. The boat looked lonely. I put the battery on a charger, emptied last season’s remaining gasoline into a jerry can, and refilled the tank with three gallons of new gas and a shot of ethanol treatment.

Backed up to the trailer, connected the hitch, and 500 yards later was backing down a snow covered ramp into Cotuit Bay. I pushed off with an oar, anchored in deeper water, and for three minutes coaxed the dormant Honda back to life with the choke and throttle. When I was 100 percent sure it wouldn’t fart out when I was in the middle of the harbor I came back into the beach, loaded the two terriers aboard, and took off for Dead Neck, the barrier island at the head of the bay.

As my son said when he declined my offer to accompany me, “You are only doing this so you can say you are the first to do it.”

That was not the motivation. Anyway, there is a simple thrill to doing this in February:


I anchored near Cupid’s Cove, the ancient inlet (now clamming cove) out to Nantucket Sound, careful to keep the boat off the beach so I wouldn’t have to push it off if the tide went out. I offloaded the dogs (who went into immediate mania and starting biting my boots) and satisfied the boat would be there when returned, headed off for a complete circumperambulation of the Island.

I brought a garbage bag and scavenged all the plastic I could find from the wrack line where the moon tides had deposited it.   There was more man-made trash on the inside, bayside of the island, reflective of where the people are in the winter and where the prevailing northerly winds blow from

Around the Point of the island (which received a bit of a trim from the dredge this winter to widen the channel) and down the outside of the beach, flawless and without footprints, just the overwash signs of high tides and winter storms. After a half mile of walking with the wind in the sun I took off my coat. The trash bag was getting full. Halfway down the beach and I popped up on a dune to see if the boat was still where it was supposed to be. It was.

And onwards down to Osterville and the Wianno Cut, where the dredged spoils from the Cotuit end of the island were pumped to shore up the dwindling beach in front of Bunny Mellon’s house.

Without some beachgrass that too will wash away, thanks to the jetties built 100 years ago that now block the natural ebb and flow of the coastal sands.  I sat down for a second, patted the dogs on the head, and then headed back towards the boat.

The dogs and I crossed the island at Cupid’s Cove, where some ice still lingered, and with our bag of trash made it back to the boat. Which was now riding at anchor in much deeper water than I left it. The solutions were:

a. undress , wade out, start boat, return to beach and get dressed again

b. take off boots and socks and attempt to roll jeans up above knees

c. just wade out, flood the boots, and climb aboard and then cruise back home at warp speed before hypothermia set in

I opted for plan C and soaked my self right up to the belt line. flopped into the boat, emptying the seawater out of the boots and onto my face. I was very happy to be the only person on the water at this point as an audience would not have been appreciated.

I phoned home, told my son to meet me at the ramp with the trailer, and fifteen minutes was back home in the shower.

So ended a good beach walk and motorboat ride in February.

113 Days to Cape Cod Baseball

By Paul Rifkin

I have a serious jones for a baseball game. How lucky am I to have this in my neighborhood? I knock off work early around 4 pm, walk barefoot or ride my bike to the ball park, buy a Moxie and a bag of peanuts, and for three hours get treated to the best amateur baseball in the world.

My neighbor Paul Rifkin shot this. Click on the picture for a larger version. He is a man of many talents and this is the best shot of the ball park, perhaps the entire town, I’ve seen in a long time.

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