On the eve of celebrating its 400th Christmas, some of the youngest Bermudians this week decorated the tree at Bermuda’s historic St. Peter’s Church.Rev. David Raths called the efforts by students from East End Primary and St. George’s Prep “wonderful”, adding the Christmas tree will be blessed this weekend.
“We will be blessing the tree at the beginning of our service this Sunday [Dec. 11] at 11:15 a.m,” he said. “If anyone from the schools would be interested in joining us it would give me the greatest of joy to introduce them as having been involved in this very wonderful project.
“In addition, the church is open, of course, Mondays to Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. and our tree will remain up until after Epiphany Sunday [Jan. 8] — unless all the needles fall off before then!” Located in the historic town of St. George’s, St. Peters Church is believed to be the oldest continuously used Anglican church in the Western hemisphere. The church is built on the same location as a 1612 structure made of wooden posts and palmetto leaves that was destroyed in a storm.
On August 1, 1620, the first Parliament in the New World was convened in St. Peter’s. The church was rebuilt in 1713-14, after a 1712 hurricane caused widespread devastation thoughout the island and additions were completed in 1814 and 1832. The font of the church — approximately 500 years old — predates the 1609 wreck of the “Sea Venture” and the altar is the oldest piece of woodwork in Bermuda.