Special to CNNW
By TIM HIRSCH
of the Pacific City Sun
Prayers, flowers, and a rousing version of the National Anthem by local singer Leslie Griffith helped mark an official start to the 2021 ocean fishing season at Cape Kiwanda when the Pacific City Dorymen’s Association brought back the Blessing of the Fleet on Saturday, June 5.
Held under mostly sunny skies, the event started at noon with violinist Erin Farstad, as she has for several years, leading off the ceremony with a 10-minute medley of gospel music. The mixture of classic hymns set the tone for a celebratory but also introspective ceremony, a ceremony that not only focused on the longstanding tradition of dorymen and the now-in-process ocean fishing season but also on the Creator’s providence.
The musical treats continued with Griffith’s vocal talents lending a patriotic tone before turning to local clergy, who prayed for providence, urged respect for the dangers of the ocean and asked fishermen to not only marvel at the creation but the creator.
Following the music, Craig Wenrick, co-chair of the Dorymen’s Association, voiced his appreciation for key partners in protecting Cape Kiwanda such as the Nestucca Rural Fire Protection District, Oregon State Parks, and the Tillamook County Sheriff’s Office. He then introduced this year’s dignitaries for the forthcoming Dory Days Parade (scheduled for July 17). Leading the parade this year will be grand marshals Al and Bernice Jensen and adding a touch of royalty will be Dory Days Princess Sophie Nelson and Junior Princess Zoe Roberts.
“I think it’s really good that we can get together on occasions like this, remember those that came before us, get together and socialize and get to see the people that (though) we might see their rigs parked on the beach every day, we never actually get to meet. I just think this is a wonderful thing that we’ve got going on. I just hope that you all enjoy it.”
And then the proceedings turned to clergy asking for help from above.
In his prayer asking for blessing over the coming season, retired Roman Catholic priest Jim Dierringer pointed towards the fact that fishermen were among Jesus’ first disciples.
“Be close to us Lord as we fish for the bounty of the sea,” he added. “Protect us from adverse weather, give us wisdom to read the surf and the winds and the courage and strength of will to remain ashore when conditions of launch are adverse.”
And in his comments, Pastor Dan Mason, of Pacific City’s Pacific Coast Bible Church, urged all to not just appreciate the beauty of the area and its numerous fishing opportunities, but the one who created it all.
“I just want to draw your attention to one simple truth,” he said. “The Bible tells us that God shows himself by that which he has made. And if we are so wowed by what we see in front of us, this is nothing compared to the wow of the one who made it.”
He then referenced Psalms 19’s reference to creation proclaiming God’s “handiwork” and testimony from Romans 1 that reminds believers that God’s “power and divine nature have been clearly perceived ever since the creation of the world in the things that have been made.”
“My challenge to you before I lead us into prayer is let us be careful not to stop short and just worship the creation, but may it take our minds to the one who made it — the very Creator,” he said. “This is not simply for us to be wowed in it and look out his creation and find glory in that. The creation is there to draw our attention to the one who made it. So, be careful, don’t get too lost in the creation when it’s there to point to the creator.”
Completing the prayers of blessing for the coming fishing season and for the dorymen and women who will brave the dangers of the sea was Pastor Lonnie Moeller of Hebo Christian Center.
In his comments, Moeller urged peace of mind for family members staying ashore.
“Lord, I lift up to you all those that are staying ashore while the family members are out on the boat and enjoying the sea, enjoying the activity, (and) enjoying the fishing,” he prayed. “And Lord, just reassure everyone that is at home that your hand is upon all those that are out on the ocean fishing.”
He also suggested that those fishing the sea consider sharing any abundance they come back with.
“The bounty — (that catch above and beyond what you need for your personal use) — you can give it to your neighbors, you can give it to your friends, you can give it to your family and when things (are really bountiful) then I want you to go over to (Pacific Coast Bible Church) and tithe off of the bounty because (they’re) going to use it to build the Lord’s kingdom.”
The ceremony then moved to the tolling of the bell for those in the community that passed away over the last two years (due to the fact that, because of the pandemic, there wasn’t a ceremony in 2020).
The ceremony concluded with many taking event flowers and tossing them in the sea in honor of those that have passed before.
For more information about the events and activities of the Pacific City Dorymen’s Association, visit pcdorymen.com.