Bethany United Methodist Church recently celebrated two annual events within one week.
The first event was an annual women’s service on April 29, reported publicity chairman Bonita Wilson. The women of the church organized the service, selecting all the music and special spiritual readings. Those who sang or read wore hats as was customary in past times.
The youth of the church read Bible selections and the men formed a chorus and sang a special hymn dedicated to the women, said Wilson.
Following the service, all who attended were invited to the church fellowship hall for cake and other refreshments. At the reception, the women of the church received a gift of flowers that they could take home and plant in their gardens in honor of the work that they do for the church and community, she said.
The second event was the Bethany Rebekah Circle’s annual field trip on May 1. This year, the circle members and invited guests visited St. Mary’s White Chapel where they enjoyed a lecture given by St. Mary’s church historian Page Henley.
Construction of the original church building was started in 1669, but in the late 1700s, following the repeal of the law that had granted the Protestant Episcopal Church property rights in glebes and churches, the church building fell into disrepair and was no longer used as a church.
However, the church was reestablished in the first third of the 19th century and the sanctuary rebuilt in the cruciform style, incorporating parts of the original building, reported Henley. Fortunately, some of the artifacts from the original church were recovered and are used by St. Mary’s today, including three walnut panels that hang behind the altar, the original stone baptismal font and a silver communion chalice that was given to the church in the will of David Fox Sr. in 1669.
Circle members and guests also visited Morattico Waterfront Museum where Mary Byrd Martin offered a brief talk on Morattico and surrounding area. She explained there were four major phases in the town’s history.
The first phase involved the Moraughtacund (also called Morattico) tribe of Native Americans who lived in the area at the time when Capt. John Smith was exploring the rivers of the Chesapeake. This phase lasted approximately 6,000 years.
The second phase was that of English planters and the third was when the area’s economy was based primarily on the businesses of watermen. The fourth phase occurred after the hurricane of 1933, which destroyed many of the watermen’s businesses and homes. In this fourth phase the area’s economy was more diverse, made up of the endeavors of both “born heres” and “come heres,” reported Martin.
The Morattico Waterfront Museum’s collection is housed in what was once a general store, established by two brothers named Whealton. The name of the town was changed from Morattico to Whealton for a time, but was changed back to Morattico in the early 1900s. The collection is extensive and contains items much prized in the days when the general store was in operation.
After touring the museum, the group enjoyed lunch at the Lancaster Tavern in Lancaster.