Our First Eucharist
by David Moen
Beginning with our first gathering together on June 7, 1992, our worship was built on Morning Prayer. In July, a representative group from the newly named Island Episcopal Community met with Bishop Vincent Warner to update him on the strength of the group and to request a pastor to serve this new congregation. Warner was surprised to learn of the size of the congregation (more than sixty) and responded favorably to our request.
On July 26, 1992, the eighth service of IEC, we met at the home of John and Jane Crane for our very first service of Holy Eucharist. Before the service started, 8 year old Andy Crane declared the need for a cross if we were to “have church”, so he fashioned a cross made of kindling and placed it prominently on the mantle. (That cross continues to sit in Grace’s worship space.)
Our presiding priest that morning was the Rev. Bill Maxwell, recently retired Dean of the Cathedral in Salt Lake City and now living in Port Townsend. Also in the congregation that morning was the Rev. Norm Middleton (father of Fran Moen) and the Rev. John Langlitz, another St. Barnabas refugee. (Maxwell referred to his close friend Langlitz as “the Bishop of Indianola”.)
The Crane home on Wing Point was packed. A comforting and straight-forward sermon was preached. Communion was served. Spirited conversation followed. Father Maxwell’s sermon lifted our hearts. This was the beginning of a period of looking towards the future and moving on. And it was good.
But who was this Bill Maxwell who had accepted the Bishop’s request to spend time with us and to share his wisdom? We really had no idea. I’d describe us as “context challenged”, having precious little information of Bill’s extraordinary accomplishments and record of service in the Episcopal Church. But as the months passed, we came to understand and to rejoice that God has placed this enormously talented priest in our midst.
From that July beginning, IEC established a service schedule that alternated Eucharist and Morning Prayer for several months until finally transitioning to Eucharist each Sunday. We met in private homes until relocating to the Bainbridge Island High School library on September 27, 1992.