Richard Bamforth

Rector of St. Mary’s Church, Rockport, MA 1966-1992

My first encounter with Charles Fisk was in a committee meeting at St. Mary’s Church in Rockport. The committee’s task was to interview prospective candidates for the role of Rector of the parish.

The bishop had brought me and my wife, Pat, all the way from Missouri to be interviewed by a church on Cape Cod. The parish on that “other cape” was not as enthused about such a match as the bishop. He said to me, “While you are here, why not also visit Rockport, they are also searching.”

To make best use of the bishop’s money and our time, we agreed to be interviewed by St. Mary’s. After a fish chowder supper and the typical questions of a pastoral calling committee, we were invited to join Charles Fisk and Douglas Brown for coffee at a local restaurant. Charlie took charge and rigorously described to me all the problems of the parish, the resultant difficulties of the position, what an awkward and challenging job it would be, and why I probably wouldn’t like it.

We departed for our return to Missouri, exhausted, overwhelmed, and intrigued by the challenge. As we drove away, Pat said, “It sounds like they really need you!” Perhaps Charlie was legitimately warning me about something he felt I could not handle. More likely, however, he cleverly and perceptively knew the subversive appeal of the power of negative attraction.

A few months later, after Cape Cod had called someone else and St. Mary’s had called me, I responded eagerly and began a twenty – six year tour of duty in Rockport. For most of us it was a mutually nourishing relationship and, I really believe, C. B. Fisk chuckled inwardly, knowing full well the insidiously attractive appeal of the negative sales pitch.

For him and his ingenious approach, and for his frequent supportive mentoring through the years, my family and I are eternally grateful.