Christ Church marks 300 years of worship
A top figure from the Church of Scotland is in Bermuda to help a church celebrate its 300th anniversary.
The Right Reverend Susan Brown, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, will preach at Christ Church in Warwick tomorrow as part of a weeklong series of events to mark the occasion.
The Reverend Alistair Bennett, minister at Christ Church, said: “At the time of the church’s origin, Bermuda was Anglican. There were those who didn’t want to follow the Anglican style of worship and so land was granted for the building of the Presbyterian church.
“We don’t know the exact date of the anniversary but we know it was April and traditionally they have tended to mark it towards the end of April.
“As part of the celebrations, Ms Brown, who is minister for Dornoch Cathedral in Scotland when she is not moderator, will be preaching on Sunday to our invited guests, members of the congregation and others who will simply come along because of their association with the church over the years, like those who have been married here.”
John Rankin, the Governor, David Burt, the Premier, Craig Cannonier, the Leader of the Opposition and US Consul General Constance Dierman are also expected to attend the service.
Mr Bennett said: “We would very much like those who have a connection to Christ Church to join us.”
The church, although now part of the Church of Scotland, was founded in 1719 by English Puritans who moved to Bermuda in the 17th century.
Major rebuilding work took place in 1837 and 1858, but the original walls remain on the north side of the building.
The church held a celebration dinner and dance at Fourways Inn in Paget last night and next week an updated history of the church, written by church member Douglas Dalrymple, will be published.
Ms Brown spoke about some of the highlights of her year-long term as moderator with church members on Wednesday, and on Thursday the church held an afternoon tea for seniors.
Mr Rankin held a reception on Tuesday at Government House for church leaders on the island to meet Ms Brown.
Mr Bennett, who has been minister at Christ Church for three years, plans to place a time capsule in the church, to be opened by the minister and congregation in 100 years’ time.
He said: “I gather that a time capsule was planted 50 years ago but no one remembers where it was buried.
“So this time we are putting one inside of the church and we will wall it off.
“There will be a variety of things inside including the updated history booklet, something to do with the history of the church and a letter written by myself to the minister of 100 years time.”
Christ Church’s first minister was the Reverend James Paul.
The congregation became part of the Free Church of Scotland in 1843.
It later became part of the United Free Church of Scotland but joined the Church of Scotland in 1929.
The association with the Church of Scotland, known as the Kirk, was formalised in 2000.
Christ Church became part of the Presbytery of Europe, now the International Presbytery, in 2008.
Francis Patton, later ordained a minister, was a worshipper at the church and became the president of Ivy League Princeton University — the only Bermudian to have held the post.
Mr Patton, who died in 1932 and has an island school named after him, is buried at the church.
Mr Bennett said that the church planned to look to the future as well as celebrate its past.
He added: “The policymaking body is focused on developing our work.
“We already have an active involvement in the community including our Loads of Love programme supporting the homeless and struggling, our support of Lorraine Rest Home, and our work with Bermuda Overseas Missions.
“We are geared towards making an even greater impact.”
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