Sunday’s clock change threw me a surprise, and a calamitous night of howling winds and slamming doors made it a doubly difficult morning, with me fumbling downstairs for the ritual of fetching the newspaper, watching the dogs relieve themselves, feeding them, feeding myself and reading the latest baseball news in the Sunday Times. As I opened the Times, the familiar clock graphic under the fold pf the front page reminded me I was out of time if I wanted to get myself to a church. I hadn’t picked a place and it was nearly nine, so I remember the suggestion from Paul Noonan that I might like to visit the Zion Union Church in Hyannis. A quick online search said services began at 10:45, so I relaxed, finished my oatmeal, then got on my way.
The Zion Union Church is a Baptist congregation of mostly African-American and Brazilian parishioners. The service is delivered in English, but the scriptures are read in Portuguese as well, and a Portuguese translator does a real-time translation of the sermon — to whom I can’t say, perhaps some remote worshippers listening in via the internet or telephone. I saw no UN-style earpieces or translation devices on people’s heads. I’ve hoped at some point to see a very musical, “gospel” type of service, and on Sunday morning I found it at Zion Union. It was, in classic Baptist tradition, a very vibrant service with all the accompanying cliches of “Can I have a Hallelujah,” swaying in the pews with arms held high, and a great choir with a particularly wonderful lead singer who would have given Arethra Franklin a run.