January, 11 am, Chapel of Ease, St. David’s
On the third Sunday of 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 taken out by boat and committed to the waters of the sea.
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.”
Commemorative Service for Pilot James Darrell
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 black cemetery on the Saturday closest to that date.
James “Jemmy” Darrell was born a slave in April 1749. Aged 46, Jemmy Darrell and two other slaves helped the Royal Navy chart all the waters around Bermuda. With his knowledge of the channels into and around these islands, in 1795 Darrell piloted Admiral Murray’s flagship, the 74-gun HMS Resolution, safely to its mooring in what is now known as Murray’s Anchorage, near Tobacco Bay, St George’s. The Admiral was so impressed with the pilot’s skill that he recommended that Darrell and the other two slaves be granted their freedom. They were appointed the first King’s pilots for Bermuda.
Darrell was also the first known black person to purchase a house. As a free man of colour, he challenged laws that imposed new restrictions on free blacks and slaves, and also petitioned against proposals that would have led to a drop in income for King’s pilots.
Blessing of the Boats
June, 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
October, Unfinished Church
Animals of all faiths are welcome. Please bring on a leash or in cage.
Christmas by Candlelight
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.