Friday, July 12, 2024
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Cushman Memorial holds first service of the summer

Cottagers from the Norway Bay community packed into the Cushman Memorial Hall on Sunday evening for its first service of the summer.
For over one hundred years, the community has gathered at the hall from the first Sunday in July to the last Sunday in August, making these services a central part of their summer traditions.
Nancy York, the chair of the board of trustees for Cushman Memorial Hall, emphasized the importance of these services to the community.
“It’s part of the summer spirit of Norway Bay,” York said.
Tom Healey, a former resident of Norway Bay and musician, has been involved for nearly a quarter of the century this tradition has been happening.
“We were asked a while back to add some music to the service,” Healey said.
Over the years, Healey and his group, Thursday Morning, have performed bluegrass, gospel, and other music at each year’s opening service. Even though he no longer lives in the community, Healey returns every summer, driven by his love for music and the sense of belonging Norway Bay offers.
“It’s like coming home for a few hours,” he said.
According to Healey, the joy of playing and seeing the crowd engage with the music is its own reward, making it one of the easiest and most fulfilling gigs for the group.
“Gospel music is simple to play, and when people sing it, it energizes you on stage,” he shared.
Healey explained that the band has evolved over the years. In 2013, its banjo player passed away, and since then, Healey has stepped into the role when needed. But on Sunday evening, the group was joined by guest banjo player and THE EQUITY reporter, K.C. Jordan for the closing song, Sin and Redemption.
York said the non-denominational church services play a crucial role in bringing the community together.
The land for the hall was donated over a hundred years ago with the condition that it be used only for church purposes, showing the importance of faith in the community’s history.
Each service is a mix of hymns, sermons, with significant contributions from the congregation.
“There’s a short sermon and hymns, most of it is based around hymns and the congregation calls out the hymn numbers,” York said.
According to York, the summer services at Cushman Memorial Hall are more than just religious gatherings; they are a celebration of community and a century-long tradition.