Sailing the Circuit
As their forebears did 100 years earlier, these parsons come by boat
Methodist ministers used to be called circuit riders, for their calling — and their horse — took them to preach to a circuit of congregations.
On Solomons Island a century ago, the preacher came by boat, traveling to neighboring watermen’s communities.
With the nearby harbor off Drum Point a sheltered anchorage, Solomons became a center for shipbuilding and repair, seafood harvesting and provisioning.
On May 20, Solomons United Methodist, and Olivet United Methodist Churches reenact the parson’s trip to celebrate their heritage and the watermen’s community of Solomons Island.
Traveling aboard the Wm. B. Tennison, the Rev. Meredith Wilkins-Arnold and the Rev. Faith Lewis will disembark in their robes to the welcome of congregation and choir for 8:45am services at Solomons United Methodist Church. Then they’ll reboard the the old buyboat and head to Olivet for services honoring the 100th year of the chapel.
The Wm. B. Tennison is part of the era celebrated. Built for oystering in 1899, the log-hulled bugeye is reputed to be the second-oldest licensed passenger vessel in the United States. Originally a sailing oyster boat, Tennison was refitted to power to work as a buyboat collecting the catch of other oyster boats. A National Historic Landmark, the Wm. B. Tennison berths at Calvert Marine Museum.