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Friday, October 2, 2009

Christ Episcopal Church, St. Simons Island, GA


While on our Anniversary vacation in June of 2008, George and I visited several historical areas on St. Simons Island, GA. After I posted pictures from Epworth-by-the-Sea, blogger friend CAROL reminded me how beautiful this church was. SO, today I am sharing pictures from Christ Episcopal Church on St. Simons Island.
The first English settlers arrived on St. Simons Island on Feb. 22, 1736, and after breakfast joined in reading the Litany with the Rev. Benjamin Ingham. During the years 1736-1766, services were conducted by both Charles and John Wesley and George Whitfield. These ministers were ordained clergymen of the Church of England by whom the Episcopal Church in the United States was planted and nurtured.
The first church on the present location was erected in 1820 and the congregation worshipped in it until the outbreak of the Civil War. This church was destroyed during the Civil War. The Rev. Anson Green Phelps Dodge, Jr. rebuilt Christ Church, Frederica, following the war as a memorial to his first wife, Ellen. The church was consecrated in 1886.
The present church building is cruciform in design, with trussed gothic roof. Stained-glass windows, given as memorials, commemorate incidents in the life of Christ and the early history of the church on St. Simons Island.
The graveyard beside the church is very interesting since many of the early settlers of the area are buried there. The picture above is of Christ Episcopal Church. Below are more pictures.



George stands beside the sign telling about Christ Episcopal Church.




Note the steeple, with Live Oak trees all around. Some of the oldest and largest Live Oaks are in this area of the island.



The beautiful graveyard beside the church contains many of the famous names of St. Simons and Georgia history. Included here is the grave of famous writer, Eugenia Price. If you haven't read her books, do so!



It was so much fun reading the tombstones. There's so much history in this graveyard. The oldest gravestone dates begin in 1803.



I even found a Bruce marker... Hmmmmm---wonder if we are kin??????



I even found an Elizabeth B. Bruce tombstone. Since my name is Elizabeth B., seeing that tombstone was 'spooky'... (NOTE: My name is Elizabeth Bruce Banks though instead of Elizabeth B. Bruce.)



We took a tour of the inside of the church. Part of the present altar is from the altar of the 1820 church. We sat and listened to a fabulous guide (member of the church and resident of the island) speak about the history of the church. VERY interesting!



The church is small; however, there is a very large congregation--attending worship services at various times throughout the week.



The beautiful stained-glass windows were given as memorials, and one of them was attributed to Louise Tiffany. Some of the windows commemorate incidents in the life of Christ.



This beautiful window shows the original Christ Church AND the present Christ Church. Amazing!



Here's one final picture of the outside of Christ Episcopal Church. This church is the 2nd oldest Episcopal Church in Georgia --and the 4th oldest church in the state.
I'll show more history from St. Simon's in future blogs. This is an incredible island --and if you love history, read Eugenia Price's books. AND--visit the island. (Maybe Carol will give us a review of Eugenia's St. Simons books.)
Hugs,