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Anglican Church at Jamestown settlement discovered

Anglican Church at Jamestown settlement discovered

An Anglican Church has been discovered at Jamestown, VA according to The New York Times. Until now it was thought that only the Puritans established a church in the early settlements:

For more than a decade, the marshy island in Virginia where British colonists landed in 1607 has yielded uncounted surprises. And yet William M. Kelso’s voice still brims with excitement as he plants his feet atop a long-buried discovery at the settlement’s heart: what he believes are the nation’s oldest remains of a Protestant church.

The discovery has excited scholars and preservationists, and unearthed a long-hidden dimension of religious life in the first permanent colony.

It may prove to be an attraction for another reason: the church would have been the site of America’s first celebrity wedding, so to speak, where the Indian princess Pocahontas was baptized and married to the settler John Rolfe in 1614. The union temporarily halted warfare with the region’s tribal federation.

….

… it [is not] the nation’s oldest house of worship: Britain’s earlier “lost colony” in North Carolina may have had a church, and remnants of 16th-century Catholic churches and missions have been identified, according to Mr. Kelso. But the 2010 discovery and continuing excavation has generated excitement partly due to the size of the 1608 structure — at 64 feet by 24 feet, it was an architectural marvel for its time — and also because of how little has been understood about religion in Jamestown.

The distinction is rooted in their origins. While Virginians were largely loyal to the Church of England, the pilgrims in Plymouth repudiated the church and came to America to escape it.

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John B. Chilton

We Virginian Episcopalians take pride in our heritage. At the same time we must never forget the history we embrace includes the displacement of native Americans, and the first African slaves in what became the United States just a few years after 1607. And we should be careful not to swallow the sanitized versions of the treatment of Pocahontas.

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