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Summer at the beach? Church offers free 2-week stay but there's a catch

It's only a short walk to the beach in picturesque Sandy Cove, N.S., where a free  stay is up for grabs for Anglican priests this summer. (Submitted - image credit)
It's only a short walk to the beach in picturesque Sandy Cove, N.S., where a free stay is up for grabs for Anglican priests this summer. (Submitted - image credit)

A free two-week vacation in one of the most stunning towns in all of Nova Scotia? It's an offer you'd be foolish to pass up, but there is one small requirement: you have to be an Anglican priest.

The Church of the Nativity, a 179-year-old church in Sandy Cove, N.S., is putting out a call for priests and their families to come for a rectory retreat this summer.

The accommodations are just a short walk down to the beach — the titular Sandy Cove — and the retreat promises to be a great way to leave the hustle and bustle of city life behind in a town with a year-round population of 122, according to the 2016 census.

The offer is simple, says church warden John Scott.

Priests must pay their own way there and are responsible for meals, but in exchange, their stay at the church's three-bedroom, two-story rectory is free of charge. All eligible priests need to do is celebrate the Eucharist each Sunday at 11 a.m.

The church has been closed all winter, and the town's eight or so parishioners have been attending mass in nearby Digby. But in the summer, the number of churchgoers balloons to about 25, says Scott, and it would be nice to have the building open again for mass.

Submitted by John Scott
Submitted by John Scott

Cancelled during COVID

For many years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the church successfully enticed priests to come for two-week stints in exchange for giving mass, but it's been three years since the program last operated.

With the loosening of pandemic restrictions, Scott is hopeful he'll find some takers and Sunday mass will proceed as scheduled over the summer months.

Thus far, a priest from Toronto has already jumped at the chance to escape the city in July, but there are still six more weeks to fill this summer, starting on July 30 all the way to Labour Day weekend.

Rectory updated — a bit

"They have a great time when they're here and they find that the people are very friendly down here and we make them feel at home and enjoy their time," church warden John Scott told Information Morning Nova Scotia Thursday. "You can basically tumble down the hill to the beach."

Scott says the accommodations have also been spruced up in recent years. The kitchen has been remodeled with a new fridge and stove, and there's even been some pest control, so chances of rodents ruining your stay are unlikely. Plus, if you've still got old movies lying around, the unit even includes a TV with VCR.

Interested parties are encouraged to reach out directly to Scott for more information.

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