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Boats blessed in the Olde Towne

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A tradition dating back to 1849 — the Blessing of the Boats — took place this morning at the Chapel of Ease dock in St George's Harbour.

The Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, and the Rev David Raths conducted the blessing after being rowed respectively by the Bermuda Pilot Gig Club in Harry Fox, and by members of the St George's-based TS Admiral Somers Sea Cadets in Lady Stockton.

Parliamentarian Suzann Roberts-Holshouser helped to conduct the service, along with Demi Wight, Dylan Holshouser and Henry Hayward, while music was provided by members of the St George's Corps of the Salvation Army.

The event dates back to the consecration of the Chapel of Ease. With no bridge connecting St George to St David's, four sons of clergymen volunteered to row the bishop across the harbour. As he passed through, the bishop blessed the boats that had gathered to watch.

The tradition is now carried out every year, usually accompanied by a codfish breakfast.

Visiting boats are invited to take part in the event, but are asked to first collect a flag from the Visitors Information Centre in St George's.

Each boat in attendance was blessed and received a Certificate of Blessing saying, “Bless o lord this vessel and all who sail in her; may she be a trustworthy and safe servant.”

Annual tradition: the Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, blesses a sailboat at the Blessing of the Boats ceremony in St George's Harbour (Photograph by Gillian Outerbridge)
Go in peace: the Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, commences the blessing ceremony in St George's Harbour (Photograph by Gillian Outerbridge)
The Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, blesses the Rhode Island Fast Ferry at the Blessing of the Boats ceremony (Photograph by Gillian Outerbridge)
The Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, blesses a sailboat at the Blessing of the Boats ceremony in St George's Harbour (Photograph by Gillian Outerbridge)
The Right Rev Nicholas Dill with Walter Carlington, the Bishop's Chaplain, and Canon David Raths at the Blessing of the Boats ceremony (Photograph by Gillian Outerbridge)
The Right Rev Nicholas Dill, Bishop of Bermuda, conducts the blessing ceremony in St George's Harbour (Photograph by Gillian Outerbridge)

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Published June 05, 2016 at 7:10 pm (Updated June 06, 2016 at 7:33 am)

Boats blessed in the Olde Towne

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