An estimated 1,200 people attended an outdoor morning service commemorating “the 400th anniversary of the planting of the Church in America on Jamestowne Island in Virginia” and the settlers’ first Holy Communion there, rites at which the Rev. Robert Hunt officiated on May 14, 1607 under a sail taken from one of the settlers’ three ships, according to a report written by Bob Williams for Episcopal Life Online.
The fabric of four centuries of history — woven with the 1607 beginnings of the Jamestown Settlement, Native American responses, and the rise of the African slave trade — was prayerfully examined on June 24 as Episcopalians gathered for Eucharist to mark the church’s 400-year heritage in the region.
Recalling the settlers’ original sailcloth, canvas suspended from trees shaded the rough-hewn altar around which bishops from the four dioceses that comprised the original Virginia of 1785 gathered with Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori for Eucharist at which Bishop John Clark Buchanan of Southern Virginia was celebrant.
Also at the table were the bishops of Liverpool, England, and Kumasi, Ghana, both representing points of a “triangle of hope” engaged in continued healing and reconciliation in the slave trade’s wake.