I spent last Friday getting to know the Reverend Charles McCarron, the Rector of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church here on the Island.
Father McCarron has been here for two years and is actively involved with his parish and the community. He is also the pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Greenport.
He started out as a Roman Catholic priest, having gone to Maryknoll Seminary, and was a Capuchin friar. He is now a monk of the Episcopal Third Order of St. Francis.
Before coming to St. Mary’s he served on the bishop’s staff with a social services ministry. He was very involved in Super Storm Sandy relief efforts.
Father McCarron’s degrees are in spirituality and history. He spends a great deal of time working with child welfare and immigrants. He also spent some time at The Cloisters museum in New York City and the artwork displayed in his office is indicative of his love of medieval art.
“I like to get out in the community,” he said, adding that he is a member of the Lions Club and is a hospice volunteer. He also spends time visiting hospitals, nursing homes and other places where the sick and the elderly need him.
Father McCarron says that he, like the other clergymen on the Island, are all faced with aging congregations and “We have to be sensitive to their needs.”
“All the fundraising events we have at St. Mary’s, like the ham dinner and the St. Nicholas Fair, generate monies that go to Island and county service groups,” he added.
He explained that the great hall at St. Mary’s is used by many community groups including AA meetings and Vacation Bible School.
“It was air-conditioned last summer, thanks to a gift from Howard Brandenstein,” he noted.
In addition to hosting Vacation Bible School, the church is involved with the other Island churches in a youth ministry serving middle to older teens at Quinipet.
“We all share the duties,” he said.
When Father McCarran first arrived on the Island, he brought two foreign exchange students with him — one from Brazil and one from Thailand.
“They got me very involved with the school,” he said — one was on the track team and the other was an actor with the school’s Drama Club.
Father McCarron also spent time in Uganda and is looking forward to “maybe adopting an orphanage there.”
My readers know that a few weeks ago I wrote about Father Peter DeSanctis of Our Lady of the Isle Roman Catholic Church and I intend to continue speaking with Island pastors in the future.
What I have noticed so far is the great spirit of cooperation among all the churches. In the broadest ecumenical sense, they offer their services to all Islanders, regardless of denomination.
We are fortunate to live here.