Homecoming 2014 was a huge success! It was a most blessed day with good weather, good people, good food, and good memories. We counted approximately 450 in attendance , and with 65 wonderful volunteers, we got it done! We wish to thank everyone who made the effort to come and be with us during this special day.
The day’s events began with a ribbon-cutting at the Washington Roberts House, the first time the house has been open to visitors. Jean Webber, a Roberts descendent, and Michael Rikard, NPS, welcomed the visitors and discussed the history of the house. Other houses and buildings open were the Theodore and Annie Salter House (Visitor Center), the Post Office, the School, the newly renovated Henry Pigott House, the Gilgo House, the McWilliams/Dixon House, and the Lifesaving Station. We were pleased to have descendents from the families at most of the houses and buildings to greet visitors and answer questions.
The Post Office was open for canceling mail, and we had a t-shirt booth, a notecards and postcard booth, and a membership table for those who wanted to join FPI or renew their memberships.
At 10:30 everyone gathered in front of the church for a group photo before the Homecoming Program began under the tent. The invocation was held by the Reverend Gil Wise, Beacon District Superintendent. Richard Meissner, President of FPI, gave the introduction and recognized the guests, descendants, and first time visitors. Patrick Elijah Eugene, the great grandson of Theodore and Annie Salter, led the group in the Pledge of Allegience. The hymn ” Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” was sung by all.
Pat Kenney, Superintendent of Cape Lookout National Seashore, greeted the crowd. Connie Mason sang an old favorite, “Marian’s Song” for us. The Words of Reflection were given by Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, Resident Bishop, North Carolina Conference.
David Quinn, the grandson of Dot Salter Willis, told the story of the history of Portsmouth Island, just as she had done in the past. The hymn “Sweet By and By” was sung by all. Reverend Linda Taylor, Sound District Superintendent, gave the closing prayer. The tolling of the church bell was in memory and honor of all descendents, those living and those who are no longer with us. We closed with the hymn “God Be With You.”. Reverend Laura Stern, Pastor of the Ocracoke United Methodist Church, gave the dinner blessing , and the line formed at the food tent! There was ham , chicken, salads, beans, breads, vegetables, and plenty of desserts! At 1:00 the buildings and booths reopened until the passenger ferries began returning to Ocracoke.
Thanks to everyone who came out. We hope you were able to relax and enjoy the village, as well as visit with friends and relatives. Even though the church was not open due to hurricane damage, she still looked beautiful decorated with fresh flowers by Chester Lynn. Happy 100th Birthday to the Portsmouth Methodist Church!
Let’s do it again in 2016!