St. George's

May 5

After I explored downtown Hamilton, I took the ferry over to the Royal Navy Dockyard area. My intention was to take the next ferry on over to St. George's Island. While it was an otherwise beautiful day, it was very windy, and storms were supposed to blow in later. I was told that there was a good chance that the ferry on to St. George's would be canceled if the water got rougher. So I decided to get back on the ferry and head back to Hamilton, where I caught the next bus to St. George's. The weather stayed very pleasant through the afternoon, and the wind didn't get any worse while I was out.

St. George's is on the east end of Bermuda, as stylized in the panel on the right in the painting shown above. A ship that was taking supplies to the Jamestown Colony was shipwrecked there, and that began the British presence. The town of St. George's was founded in 1612. The town has a replica of the Deliverance, one of the two ships built to carry on the trip to Jamestown.

St. Peter's Church is the oldest Anglican church outside Britain and the oldest Protestant church in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere. In 1612 a temporary post and thatch church was built. The present Communion table dates from then and so is the oldest piece of Bermuda furniture in the church. It was replaced by a wooden building in 1619 that was devastated by a 1713 hurricane. That wood was incorporated into the rebuilt and enlarged cruciform church. In 1815 it was expanded into a rectangular shape. The current entry way and steps were added in 1841. A gallery for the slaves was installed in 1721, of which the center section was removed to give the height to install the Casavant organ.

The Communion table is located in what would have been the east transcept, opposite the organ. The pulpit is located on the north side, facing the main entrance. It was made from Bermuda cedar in 1660 with the lower desks added in the early nineteenth century.

The stone baptismal font dates from around 1450 in England. The chairs that flank it are the throne for the bishop when he visits, and on the left of the picture is the ceremonial chair as noted in the plaque.

When I went out to explore the graveyard, I met the pastor, the Rev'd Canon David W. Raths, who was about to meet with a couple whose wedding he was going to perfrom. In the short conversation, he asked me if I were a "breakaway," and when I told him I was a Methodist, he said that was OK then, and he consented to pose for a picture. I didn't tell him of my theologically unfortunate experience at a "breakaway" church in Charleston.

The Unfinished Church was supposed to be a grand replacement. You can read its history here.

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