There was some question over the weekend about the whereabouts of Vice President Mike Pence, as reports indicated he would be on a short vacation in southwest Florida, but nobody at his rumored destination had received any confirmation of his plans.
However, everything became clear Sunday morning when Pence’s motorcade arrived at the Sanibel Community Church on Sanibel Island off the southwest coast of Florida in the vicinity of Fort Myers, according to the Fort Myers News-Press.
Just in time for morning service
The News-Press reported that Pence and his family have visited Sanibel Island several times annually for many years in a row, dating back to when Pence served as the governor of Indiana, and would regularly attend services at the Sanibel Community Church while there.
It had been rumored that Pence and his wife, second lady Karen Pence, would be traveling to Sanibel this weekend and were expected to arrive on Saturday. However, nobody at the church had heard for sure whether the Pences were truly coming or not.
As he prepared the church for morning services, Associate Pastor Doug Hummer told the media outlet: “I haven’t seen any Secret Service guys.”
That changed just a few hours later, though, as a motorcade of SUVs arrived and the Pences — as well as their contingent of Secret Service agents — arrived in time to attend the 11 a.m. service.
A home away from home
“We’re honored to have him here,” said interim Pastor Steven LeBar, who stressed that the priority was making the Pences feel they were part of the congregation. “It doesn’t make any difference in the program. We want him to feel welcome here.”
Another associate pastor named Shelton Gwaltney told the News-Press that visits to the church by the vice president were always viewed as a good thing. “It is an honor for him to attend church,” he said. “He attended when he was governor [of Indiana], but we didn’t know it!”
“People are getting used to it. We don’t have as many Looky-Loos,” Gwaltney added with regard to the extra attention a vice-presidential visit brings and noted that things were easier this time around given that it wasn’t Easter weekend or the height of the tourist season.
As for the security provided by a contingent of Secret Service agents, the associate pastor said, “The Secret Service is nice to work with. We try to work with them. We try our best to protect the services, especially in the atmosphere in this day and age,” he added.
One church member, Lee Miller, said it was the first time he was present for a visit from Pence and described the occasion as “pretty cool.” He noted that the entire church joined together in a “meaningful” prayer on behalf of Pence and President Trump.
It is good that Mike and Karen Pence are still able to enjoy their favorite vacation spot on Sanibel Island from time to time, and it is even better that they have a welcoming church congregation that they can call home for the few days out of the year they are there.