Annual “July 4th” Crab Sunday in Review

Jul 25, 2019

Thanks to David Deutsch for photos from this year’s “Almost Annual 4th of July Crab Feast,” which was held a bit earlier than usual, on Sunday, July 21, 2019.

Crab Sunday has become one of the most beloved traditions at St. Mark’s Capitol Hill. The day begins with a “full-dress” procession at the beginning of a single morning service by the “College of Crustaceans” and Eucharistic bread baked in the shape of a crab. Lunch and program follow the worship service and involve a Feast of crab, corn on the cob, and watermelon (chicken available if crab doesn’t work for some). The program features a State of the Crab Address by the reigning (and outgoing) Crab of the Year and the long-awaited (and closely guarded secret) announcement of who will be dubbed the new COTY.

2018 Crab of The Year, Tracy Councill offered up the following State of the Crab Address, before passing the “crown and net” to her successor, Mary Cooper.

In my State of the Crab address this year, I want to elucidate the mystery of St. Marks’ College of Crustaceans. When I first came here over 30 years ago, it seemed the Crab of the Year earned the nomination by delivering a much-needed, but not always well-received pinch that called out hypocrisy or helped the community get back on track when we fell short of our ideals.

Placing a value on the kind of crabbiness that keeps us honest still resonates with our community, but in an effort to be more welcoming in recent years, we have molted into nominating what some describe as “soft shell crabs,”—overachievers in service to the community who exert gentle nips of correction and concern rather than painful pinches to our tender toes!

It is important to note that this is NOT a departure from the true nature of the crab. Crabs are sensitive creatures who develop a hard shell to protect them from the bumps and dings of life in community. With not one but two pairs of antennae, crabs are always on alert! Ten legs (only two of which end in claws) allow us to really get around, but our preference for sideways walking makes us stealthy and unpredictable!

The internet tells us that a group of crabs is called a “Cast,” and that in fact crabs are very cooperative, working together to provide food and protection for their communities. St. Mark’s in the new millennium has evolved from the “I’m Ok, You’re Ok” individualistic crabbiness of the seventies into a community that daily lives into its crabby nature through shameless displays of attentiveness and hospitality.

As your reigning crab, I issue a challenge to the College of Crustaceans and the entire community to redouble our efforts to extend our Crabby brand of hospitality not only to our own community, but also to the world outside our walls, near and far. When people come to St. Mark’s Capitol Hill for the first time, they should exclaim “See how they love each other! They are truly a Cast of Crabs, and a beacon of Crabbiness for all the world to see!”