Although the old “The Episcopal Church Welcomes You” sign captures an essential part of our vision, in a small parish such as Calvary that takes on more significance. As a church in a “destination resort,” one of our primary values is of hospitality. We are not a magnet with a specialist agenda or liturgical style. We try to be an inviting and comfortable community for people from various different congregational settings. Many Episcopalians who live elsewhere have made Calvary a second church home, and we try to let any Seaside visitors know they are welcome.
For many years, our main outreach project as a parish has been to support the local food bank. Beyond that, most of our members are personally active in various local outreach ministries, some ecumenically with other churches, others with secular organizations such as the food bank, the school district, and the historical museum. We also make our space available for the community to use, and like many other churches, host Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.
No matter how hard we might want it, we cannot be “all things to all people.” Our members exhibit a range of political and theological perspectives from conservative to liberal. But, as we see in our Sunday adult forum class, our parishioners have developed a strong trust among themselves that visitors seem to feel and respond to. We strive to be accepting and non-judgmental, knowing that we will have disagreements but trying not to let those disagreements drive us into factions. We come and go home as friends in Christ.