We had a truly glorious Night on the Water last night.
For awhile there it looked like torrential rain was going to threaten our annual ECC fundraiser, held at the Ida Lewis Yacht Club in Newport, and I can promise you that would have been an issue. It takes two solid minutes to walk the long dock out to the building that was housing the event, so even the best umbrella wouldn’t have been able to keep our guests dry. We were lucky, though, and the skies cleared Saturday morning. The sun came out an a wonderful wind swept through Newport harbor. Inside we were warm and comfortable, taking in the sights and enjoying one another’s fine company.
Our honoree for this year’s fundraiser was the Rev. Harrington Gordon. Just about anyone who has spent time at ECC knows Father Gordon, as he has been a part of camp since its beginning. I wrote the following piece to read at the event, so I thought I would share it with all of you. Honoring Harry Gordon is certainly something we can all take part in, whether or not we were at Ida Lewis last night.
Thanks so much to all of you who came out last night to support ECC. We had a wonderful night, and the love and energy in the room was palpable. I feel so blessed to be a part of ministry with all of you!
In thanks for the ministry of The Rev. Harrington Gordon
In a world of non-stop change there are some things about ECC that are constant. Church and worship and music changes, but at ECC we gather each night in the barn for the quiet service of Compline, always finding comfort in the words “guide us waking O Lord and guard us sleeping”. While friends and schools and home lives change, at ECC people old and young alike come and find a second home and a community of friends that help them to see a greater glimpse of God. While food and menus change, at camp we gather in the dining room to talk and laugh and raise our voices in a chorus of ridiculous songs. While buildings and structures change, at ECC we pick up a hammer and a shovel and an axe and work to better the property around us, making a mark that will last for years on the property and forever in our hearts.
We’ve come here tonight to protect those constants about ECC. The ministry, the love, the community we share at ECC absolutely should be protected and cared for by all of us as we continue to change the lives of young people and bring them closer to God.
While we gather here tonight to protect and care for this place we love so dearly, it seems fitting that we would stop for a moment to honor a person – one of very few persons – who is also a constant at ECC. A person who has in large part devoted his life and work to the care and protection of the Episcopal Conference Center.
Harry “the Hammer” Gordon has been a part of ECC since its beginning. Where other folks have phased in and out of the ministry of that place, the fine Father Gordon has remained. I remember him well from my own days as a camper. Walking around, hammer in hand, tending to old and tired buildings, finishing odd jobs when the rest of us were lounging about during free time long after daily work projects had ended. I remember him celebrating the Eucharist in the barn – he was always a camp favorite thanks to the speed with which he could bless the bread and wine and move us along to breakfast. I remember his bright smile, his strong work ethic, his undying devotion to the camp. But mostly, I just remember his presence. Harry Gordon is as much a part of ECC as the barn, the bell, and the sprawling yellow farmhouse that sits on Reservoir Rd.
Not only has Father Gordon devoted countless hours of his life to the improvement and care of ECC, he has helped us remember our reason for being there. Rarely would you spend a work project with Father Gordon without being reminded that we were working for the “Boss on the Cross” – He is why we are here, He is why we work, and He is why we love. A devoted priest and follower of Christ, Father Gordon for has kept us focused on the “why” when the rest of us are tempted to get caught up in the “how”.
So Father Gordon – in thanks for all you do and have done, in thanks for your constant devotion to ECC and in thanks for being one of our constants, in thanks for your witness to love and life of Christ at ECC, we present you with this bench – painted by Jeanine Dionne. The words that hang on the barn are inscribed on the top. “My Yoke Fits Well”. I can hardly think of more appropriate words to honor the man who has worn the yoke and without rest or reservation shared the work of Christ at the Episcopal Conference Center.