April 1, 2023

A Walking Tour of Clifton Springs

Today was the first day of sunny, 70-degree weather in Clifton Springs since I moved here in November. I had to go outside just after noon and decided to walk south along Sulphur Creek. I was surprised to see dozens of ducks both in the creek and on its banks. (I’m still learning to identify ducks. I can recognize mallards, but I’m not good at naming other waterfowl.) The creek flows past the Clifton Springs hospital, and I discovered a pond with a fountain on the hospital grounds. There were more ducks around the pond, two mute swans in the water, and two turtles sunning themselves on a rock. I had a very pleasant stroll.

I’ve wanted to explore Clifton Springs further. The pleasant weather and my discoveries along the creek inspired me to take a longer walk through the town. Clifton Springs is a small village, and it is not unreasonable to plan to explore each of its streets. I thought of doing this by car, but today it seemed like a walking tour was indicated. My walk lasted more than an hour. Although I have not yet explored every street in the town, I am off to a good start.

I returned home with a number of impressions. First, the town has a large amount of parkland for such a small place. The housing stock seems surprisingly good, sometimes even charming. And, although sidewalks are not universal, there are a lot of them. Finally, I was already aware that this area is not a bastion of liberal sentiment. (I have disliked virtually every vote my Republican congresswoman has cast, for example.) I was a bit taken aback by a number of Christian-oriented signs I saw in front of houses, which I assume were not indicating the presence of Episcopalian families. (One house had a large cross that said: “JESUS SAVES.”) I saw only one Trump sign and a distressing banner: “JESUS IS MY SAVIOR/TRUMP IS MY PRESIDENT” No, actually, he isn’t.

On the whole, Clifton Springs, New York, is a fine place. I doubt I will be able to do much to improve the sentiments of its residents.


  1. This was a šŸ‘ post. You also posted a good series about rescuing a cat and finding a new owner.

    I wonder why you identify as an Episcopal Church activist. An activist is defined as one who pursues social change. The most well known was MLK. Although a minister he is not called a Baptist activist. Perhaps enthusiast would be a better term for you.

    In this post you imply that having Christian yard sign is an indication that the resident is not Episcopalian. Really?!

    There are all kinds of Christian yard sign and bumper strips. I agree the one you quote is not to my taste. Perhaps if you met the family in question your response should be a polite version of "I'm glad He is and no he is not."

    Keep on with truth, beauty and justice.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comments.

      “Activist” only implies working toward some controversial goal. I have worked to support the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion in their conflicts with their aggressive evangelical opponents. I have been president of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh and the founder of the No Anglican Covenant Coalition, the latter being an international Anglican group. And since the Episcopal Church has supported gay and transgender rights, access to abortions, etc., my support of it is certainly advocacy for social change.

      As for yard signs of whatever sort, I think I have a good understanding of Episcopalian sensibilities. I may not always identify signs displayed by Episcopalians, but I think I can usually identify those that are not.

      The sign in the picture is, for me, problematic in several ways. Whereas “Jesus is my savior” is not my style either, I don’t find it objectionable. I do object, however, as would many, though not all, Episcopalians, with the juxtaposition of Jesus to the U.S. flag. Jesus is savior to the world, not to American. And, of course, Trump is the president of whoever put up this sign only in some alternate universe.


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