Thursday, August 13, 2009

Prayer Station @ the Beach

Cape beachgoers at holy crossroads

Falmouth selectmen have given permission to four area churches to set up a “prayer station” in the Old Silver Beach parking lot. The churches say they're just reaching out to people, but some beachgoers view the effort as a public affront.Cape Cod Times/Paul Blackmore

NORTH FALMOUTH — Sunshine, sand and surf are Beach 101 in town. Even weddings and an occasional sunrise service. But a prayer station in the beach parking lot?

Earlier this month, selectmen voted 4-0 to allow volunteers from four Upper Cape churches to set up a prayer station in the Old Silver Beach parking lot.

The "prayer station" only takes up one parking space — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every day this week — but the selectmen's decision doesn't sit well with some beachgoers. Staffed with volunteers from Heritage Christian Church in East Falmouth, First Baptist Church of Pocasset, Falmouth Church of the Nazarene and Bay Community Alliance Church in Buzzards Bay, no preaching or solicitation is allowed. The volunteers can only talk to those who approach them. Still, the board's decision has drawn the ire of some residents who feel that a line in the sand, separating church and state, has been crossed.

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