Sinful in Bonita Springs

The Dogs, The Donnas and an Outdoor Church

There are more than a few days a week that I could be spotted at Riverside Park with my little buddy, Slum Dawg Dillionaire. One day when Dill was off defending Depot Park from the squirrel population, I met another dog owner.

As luck would have it, I happen to be a Donna magnet of sorts. If there is a woman named Donna anywhere in the near vicinity of my person, the Donna finds me.  That day a Donna was walking her “Will” and so we talked and walked while the dogs did their thing.  When we got back to where we started Donna told me she walks Willow on Sunday before church … and then takes her to church and extended an invitation for me to join her.

Little did I know, even though I’m at Riverside Park all the time is that there is a church that meets on the green, near the band shell, on Sunday mornings.

On this particularly bleak day, our family, unlike many families in the world, was in the throws of struggles with a member who has fought both mental illness and addiction most of their life.   This particular Sunday morning at the park I was walking off the stress and aggravation of over a month of this person being hospitalized, weeks of life support in I.C.U., kidney failure, a respirator, the works.  Things had not looked good for a while and I was exhausted, our family was exhausted.

I’m one of those people who consider signs.  Like a sign to go to church because a Donna had asked me to go. I actually went because I figured some of my Donna guardian angels put the new Donna up to inviting me to church at the park.

The truth of the matter is that it was actually a great service. I’m sitting there in the great outdoors watching a congregation of Bonitians and snowbirds sitting under an Oak tree in lawn chairs. There are dogs in attendance, people on bicycles ride by who stop to listen, a group of folks with developmental disabilities at a picnic table and people who just walk by who grab a park bench for a spell because they, too, stumbled upon service without a roof on it.


It wasn’t until I was walking out of church that I realized I was wearing a bedazzled shirt that read “sinful” across the back, proving that this church welcomes everybody no matter how they’re dress, what they drive or if they have a dog on the end of a lead.

So, if you’re looking for a great service to go to and need a sign, here it is.  You’re invited to church this Sunday at 9:30.  It’s at Riverside Park near the band shell and it’s called The Springs of Bonita Church.

I’ll see you there and maybe my dog will, too.