---- — A Manchester beach, closed to swimming earlier this week because of high bacteria levels in the water, will remain closed until further notice.
Testing at Black Beach, off Ocean Street, showed a bacteria count of 223. The state sets the allowable level for swimming at 104.
Although a retest of the beach water found satisfactory results, the beach has exceeded the allowable season-long geomean average standards. The geomean was 20 on Wednesday, but season average standard is 35 and the beach’s stood at 35.5, according to the town Board of Health. It said more testing would be done early next week.
All five of the other Manchester beaches have passed testing and are open to swimming.
Weekly beach water testing will continue until Labor Day at all six Manchester beaches.
Updates are available at the town’s website, www.manchester.ma.us, as well as from the Board of Health at 978-526-7385.
Bathhouse hours cut
Speaking of beaches, beginning Monday, Aug. 26, the Singing Beach Bathhouse will only be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The bathhouse will close for the season Monday, Sept. 2, at 5 p.m.
Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, through Sept. 30, parking in the Singing Beach Parking Lot is limited to residents with a valid beach parking sticker only. There will be no non-resident parking available during September.
For questions, please contact the Manchester Parks & Recreation Department at 978-526-2019.
Forsythe concludes pastorate
After nearly 26 years of serving the First Baptist Church of Manchester, the Rev. David Forsythe has announced that he will end his tenure as pastor. In a letter to the congregation earlier this month, he wrote, “It has been my distinct honor and privilege to have served as your pastor. You have been exceedingly gracious and generous in countless ways to me and my family through all these years ... we believe it is time for you to have fresh voice in a new shepherd ...”
The Forsythes expect to remain on the North Shore, if not in Manchester. The Rev. Forsythe is looking forward to providing pulpit ministry for New England churches as well as interim pastoral ministry.
The Rev. Forsythe will preach his last sermon as pastor of the congregation Sunday, at the 10 a.m. service. His sermon is titled, “The Last Word.”
Portraits in Essex
An event in Essex next Saturday, Aug. 31, will offer an in-depth look at the at the folk art portrait collection at Cogswell’s Grant, and an exploration of the many families and artists represented in the house.
Site Manager Kristen Weiss will lead the tour and “Faces and Families: Folk Art Portraits” talk at the house, 60 Spring St., from 10 a.m. to noon.
Space is limited. Registration is required. Please call 978-768-3632 for more information. Admission is $5 for Historic New England members, $15 for nonmembers.
Manchester and Essex reporter James Niedzinski returns Monday. If you have a news tip or an item for Town Talk, please contact him at 978-283-7000 x3455, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.