From families to fishermen - Week of Blessings begins May 22 in Destin

Tina Harbuck
The Destin Log

For more than half a century, Destin as a community has celebrated the Blessing of the Destin Fishing Fleet on Ascension Day with local pastors gathering on the waterfront to speak a word of blessing over the fishing boats and others that make their living on the sea, for safety and bountiful catches. 

In the last nearly 20 years, the blessed event has spread into an entire week of blessings that encompasses the churches, businesses, schools, first responders, families, fishermen and more. 

Mel Ponder prays for his assigned group during the 2021 Destin Blessing of the Marketplace held at the new Destin High School

The Church of Destin, whose slogan is “One church, many congregations,” will kick off the 19th Week of Blessings on May 22 with a Blessing of the Families at participating churches. 

Monday, May 23 is a day of “prayer and fasting,” where people will pray for their neighbors, community, national leaders and the world. 

"Pray wherever God is leading,” said Community Pastor Matt Metcalf of Shoreline Church in Destin and this year’s president of the Church of Destin. 

“I’d like to encourage people to walk the docks and pray for the fishermen and ask for extra grace,” Metcalf said, noting that some of the fishermen have had a rough spring with bad weather and the increase of the prices at the pump. 

Tuesday, May 24, is Pastoral Ministry Day where pastors will be blessing public servants, first responders and those in the schools. 

Blessing of the Marketplace is set for Wednesday at Destin United Methodist Church in the Family Life Center at 200 Beach Drive. The business community is invited to worship together and be blessed. This event will take place from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. and lunch will be provided by Chick-Fil-A. 

2021:Blessing of the Marketplace is back and in person, brings hope

The Blessing of the Marketplace will be a bit different this year, Metcalf said.

Instead of a speaker, the organizers will be showing a video where they have talked with several people in the community about how they made it through the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of April 2010. The people interviewed include Pastor Eric Parton of Shoreline Church; Kay Biggers of the Destin Fisherman’s Co-Op; Father Mike Hesse, former pastor of Immanuel Anglican; Dale Peterson, a former vacation rental and real estate business owner; and Steve Wilson, former owner of the Buccaneer and Southern Star Dolphin Cruise Boat. 

Boats filled the Destin Harbor Thursday evening during the The 64th annual Blessing of the Fleet.

Metcalf said the people will share testimonies of how Destin was spared from the oil spill … and “God’s goodness to our people.” 

After the Week of Blessings is over, the video will be donated to the Destin History and Fishing Museum, Metcalf said. 

From 2021:Blessing of the Fleet a community tradition, for fishermen and clergy

Thursday, May 26 is the 65th annual Blessing of the Fleet on Destin harbor. The event will begin at Destin Fishing Fleet Marina, behind Brotula’s Seafood and Oyster Bar, with an informal church service under a big tent. Following a brief sermon, songs and testimony from Steve Wilson, the clergy will begin a processional down to the harborfront where they will stand on a barge and speak blessings over the vessels as they pass by. There will also be fish fry will all the fixings on the docks with tables set up under the tent. 

Clergy bless some of the approximately 140 boats that participated in the 64th annual Blessing of the Fleet in the Destin Harbor Thursday evening.

If you have not yet registered your boat there is still time to do so by contacting Biggers at the Fisherman’s Co-Op at 850-654-4999 or Immanuel Anglican at 850-837-6324. 

From 2015:BP OIL SPILL: Five years later and fishing is fine

Friday, May 27 is a day to Practice Random Acts of Kindness by leaving a big tip, or helping someone. 

Friday, which wraps up the Week of Blessings, is usually the Blessing of the Youth as well. But with May 27 marking the last day of school, Metcalf said they will be stopping by the schools throughout the week and blessing the students and faculty with a sweet treat.