January 28, 2024, 11 am, Chapel of Ease, St. David’s
In January Bermuda’s seafarers gather together at the Chapel of Ease in St David’s to pay their respects to their comrades lost at sea. Following the service, memorial wreaths are placed at the Lost at Sea Memorial at Great Head Park, St. David’s.
Midshipman Dale Service
Last Saturday in February, 5.30 pm, St. Peter’s Churchyard
Midshipman Richard Sutherland Dale United States Navy, aged 20, died in Bermuda of wounds received while serving on USS President, one of the last Naval casualties of the War of 1812-1815, between the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Although the peace treaty had been signed in Europe on 24 December 1814, it took over a month for this news to reach North America.
Midshipman Dale was brought to St George’s where he was given the best of care but died of his wounds after a month. Midshipman Dale’s parents, Commodore Richard Dale and his wife Dorothea, were very touched by the kindness St Georgians had shown to their son and his tombstone in St Peter’s churchyard is inscribed: “This stone records the tribute of his parents’ gratitude to those inhabitants of St. George’s whose generous and tender sympathy prompted the kindest attentions to their son while living and honoring him when dead.”
Details on the history of the commemorative service and Midshipman Dale are available in an article by Dr Judith Pearson.
Commemorative Service for Pilot James Darrell
Second Saturday in April, 5 pm, St Peter’s Churchyard
Pilot Darrell, one of the first King’s Pilots in Bermuda, died 12 April, 1815 and a commemorative service is held annually at his grave site in the segregated graveyard on the Saturday closest to that date.
James “Jemmy” Darrell was born a slave in April 1749. As an accomplished pilot later in his career, Pilot Darrell assisted hydrographer Thomas Hurd of the Royal Navy to sound the existing channels and search for new channels and anchorages for the Royal Navy’s ships. In 1795 Pilot Darrell guided Rear Admiral George Murray’s 74-gun HMS Resolution through the narrows channel, prompting the Admiral to write to Governor James Craufurd remarking on Darrell’s “ability and steadiness” and requesting the Government purchase his freedom. On the death of his owner in 1796 Pilot Darrell was manumitted and became the first documented Black man to purchase a house in Bermuda.
He was a leader in the Black community advocating for the rights of Black Bermudians, and when Admiral Murray established the King’s Pilots, a list of pilots qualified to serve the Admiralty, Pilot Darrell was the first to be appointed. His headstone reads “In his publick life, as a servant of his country, he gained the general approval of his talents and worth. In his private walk, as a member of the community, his name will long be remembered, for his usefulness and integrity”.
Blessing of the Boats
June 25, 2023, 9 am, Chapel of Ease Dock, St David’s
The observance of this service is influenced by the association of St David’s Island with the fishing and pilot boat occupations and dates back to 1849 when the Chapel of Ease was consecrated. There were no bridges between Bermuda’s islands so the serving Bishop of the time was rowed to St David’s Island to bless the islanders’ boats and this tradition continues today.
Blessing of the Animals
Third Sunday in October, 3 pm at the Unfinished Church
Rev. Canon John Stow conducts a special service to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi.
Animals of all faiths are welcome.
Please bring your pet on a leash or in cage.
A collection is taken for the SPCA.
Candlelight Service of Lessons and Carols
December 24, 9 pm, St. Peter’s Church
The first Christmas Eve service took place in 1612 when the newly arrived settlers gathered together in the very small makeshift church they had cobbled together with cedar plank and palmetto thatch. Over 400 years later we celebrate Christmas Eve on the same site with a celebration of Holy Eucharist in the light of over 70 flickering candles – the candelabra a legacy of life lived before electricity.