Allen’s Neck Clambake 2017

Allen’s Neck Clambake 2017

We all have traditions.  They serve to connect us to each other, to our past, and to our future.  The love and faithfulness of Allen’s Neck Friends was a gift to me in August, as I visited the clambake for the first time.  I can’t do justice to the Spirit I saw.  I can at least share some of my experience.

“Team Dressing” – this is THE production team.  We all like the clams, but we all NEED the dressing.  Behind the scenes, early morning back at the meetinghouse, laughter and hard work and dressing for 600 people.

The total effort by so many hands is amazing. Onions, Corn, Clams, all pitched in and prepared the food.  Some people return each year from afar for this event. AND PIES. My daughter learned how to pick clams, alongside people younger than her, and twice her age.

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“Tending the fire” is more than Spiritual metaphor in this meeting.  The clerk (Mike) is seen here is his fire gear.  There were many others all day long, keeping folks safe, making sure the coals were distributed, and raked with skill.  Again, the team effort was amazing to watch! 

And then finally… time to eat! A warm blessing from Peter Crysdale, and we all found our places. I helped with this part.  I was “dressing” for a specific long table – ONLY that table, and my job was to walk up and down and make sure everyone got what they needed.  With 600 people, everyone needs to know their place in the assembly line, and that food is coming! I also learned that I was not yet ready for the coveted “pie duty”.  Maybe next year.

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Throughout the day, I kept meeting more friendly people.  Everyone was my neighbor, and it was assumed that I would jump in and help, and that there would be plenty for all. here were regular meeting attenders, Friends visiting from afar, and a long table of previously incarcerated folks that the meeting has welcomed into their fold and their hearts.  I was reminded that some of us pray with our feet – or with our hands, or our big pan of clam dressing.  Each spoonful of food I put on a plate felt like a bit of a communion offering.  Indeed, in a tradition that does not formally gathering with bread and wine – I am convinced now of the lowly clam as blessed host of the Body of Christ.  I am deeply grateful for Allen’s Neck Friends, since 1887, making space for the Holy.

Yes, That’s Andy – taking every Opportunity to remind visitors of the Life and tradition of Friends!

Read more about the Allen’s Neck Clambake here, in Friends Journal.



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