Uncommon Attraction: Saint Bartholomew’s Church, St. Barts
With as flashy a reputation as St. Barts has for catering to the ultra-wealthy celebrity jet-set, you might not think there would be much to discover there by and in the way of spiritual and/or historical attractions. Certainly its preserved ancient treasures and vestiges to the past don’t measure up to those you’ll find elsewhere across the Caribbean, but there are handful of gems.
Right up near the top of the list: Saint Bartholomew’s.
Located in the heart of Gustavia along the Rue du Centenaire, St. Bartholomew’s reflects the classic charm of the quaint little Caribbean churches of yesteryear – doors always open, all always welcome.
The structure itself dates all the way back to 1855 and was constructed with stones brought over from neighboring St. Eustatius, so no doubt the place just oozes with history.
Even with my persistent passion for making historical discoveries on my travels, there’s a more everyday element to St. Bartholomew’s that fascinates me even more.
As a small church on a small island with a reasonably transient population of sailing and boating enthusiasts from all over the world, St. Bartholomew’s tends to attract a rather diverse congregation. Worshipers from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, U.S., and other Caribbean islands have all attended services here in recent years.
And the folks in the pews aren’t the only ones adding to the diversity at St. Bartholomew’s. Over its history, the church has been forced to reply almost exclusively on visiting priests from Canada, the UK, and the United States to deliver the sermons. These visiting priests generally stay for two-to-four weeks, giving St. Bartholomew’s a fresh new voice on a regular basis.
All of this must make for some vibrant and lively gatherings, bringing together differing world views under a shared banner of spirituality that can’t hardly ever be the same experience from week-to-week.
For more on St. Bartholomew’s, including days and times for their worship schedule, visit the church website.
Photo credit: Flickr user Torrey Wiley.