Many years ago, The Rev. Richard Waters from Downings Methodist Church and The Rev. Emmitt Mullen were fishing with Jim Fox, the patriarch of Fox Funeral Homes. The Rev. Mullen, a priest who was serving Emmanuel Episcopal Church at Jenkins Bridge, relished the idea of an outreach to vacationers (and local residents). During their discussion that day, they hatched a plan to use the chapel in the Fox Funeral Home, 5049 Chicken City Rd, Chincoteague for regular Episcopal church services during the summers, when the island population swelled tremendously. Here was the beginning of a partnership that has endured for over thirty years, and has offered many, many folks the Episcopal tradition of Holy Eucharist on Sunday mornings during the summer.
The main players have changed a bit. The Rev. Claire M. Hunkins is now the rector at Emmanuel Episcopal, and thus the main celebrant at the chapel. The chapel itself is now in the Fox-Holston Funeral Home. Jim Fox, Dale Fox and Dale Holston have continued to make folks feel comfortable, and have donated various religious articles for the altar area. And with garden flowers often adorning the altar as well, it is easy to forget that you are in a funeral home. When questioned about worshiping in such a place as a funeral home, Pastor Claire has remarked, “What better way to worship, than in a place that has honored the community of saints who have gone before us!’
This May 28th will start the 35th year of Emmanuel’s community outreach of spoken services (without music). Folks are encouraged to come to the 8:00am service dressed casually, so anyone on vacation may feel comfortable attending, or even head directly to the beach. Congregants are traditionally invited to gather for a dutch-treat breakfast together at a local restaurant afterwards. The services run from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, this year that will be May 28th through Sept. 3rd.
Those who have questions are invited to contact the church at 757-894-7078 (leave a message) or to view the church website at www.emmanuelchurchjb.com. All are also invited to share in the celebration of the Eucharist at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 26405 Horsey Rd, Jenkins Bridge, Va. (near T’s Corner) at 10:30am throughout the year. You never know what a fishing trip may bring about!!