Fishermen’s Service

The 2012 lobster season on the Eastern Shore of NS concluded on June 20th. The following Sunday we gathered in Port Hilford Baptist Church, decorated with fishing nets, buoys, a ship’s wheel, lobster traps, and models of boats, for a celebration of the harvest of the sea and a time of thanksgiving to God for the safety of our fishermen. About one hundred people crowded the small rural church to thank God for His bountiful provisions and the many good gifts He gives to us.

The singing of several hymns that speak of God’s protection and care (especially for those who derive their livelihood from the sea), a classical piano solo by Lauren Kaiser, a southern gospel song by Harvey Kaiser who accompanied himself on the guitar, and a vocal solo by Iris Hayes helped us praise and worship our Lord Jesus Christ.

During the service, Joseph Furlong, a retired fisherman and member of the Port Hilford Church, donated a painting to the church – Christ, Our Pilot. This picture, by Walter Sallman (1892-1968), portrays action and challenge! With Christ as our pilot, we can steer the proper course of our lives which will land us safely in a peaceful harbour. Following a prayer of dedication by our pastor, Rev. Norman Pearce, the picture was received on behalf of the church by Deacon Kenneth Mills. The inscription on the picture reads: ‘In memory of Jim and Charlotte Furlong and those fishermen who made their living from the sea.’

Mr. Furlong spoke about times when he was rescued from the ocean waters. “I used to think it was good luck; now I realize I owe my life to the Man in the picture – Jesus.”

The names of present and past fisherpersons were read as we honored those who have provided for the well-being of our communities by their hard-work and sacrifice. Pastor Norm spoke about Jesus who called the fishermen to follow Him and become fishers of men. He reminded us that when we trust in the Lord and do His will, God will draw people to Himself.

Following that wonderful time of worship, we enjoyed fellowship, a supper together, and lots of seafaring stories (some of which may have grown a bit in the telling!). It was indeed a good day in the ministry of the combined Baptist Congregation of Port Hilford, Port Bickerton and Sonora.

– Submitted by Rev. Norman Pearce