Bermuda is a very religious island, especially due to its history and since the times of the slavery. There are literally churches that can be seen at many road junctions, the majority of them old and great examples of the different architectural styles that can be found on the island.
In the case of the Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church, this building is simply the oldest existing Methodist one on the island. It was built by the free Blacks and slaves of the Warwick Parish and was achieved on November 17th, 1827 after they spent two years of their free time and often nights to erect this one room church.
The building of the Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church was made possible buy the then Chief Justice Hon. James Christie Esten who allowed the release of of a piece of land for it. This was after he was persuaded by a popular preacher and slave from Barbados, Edward Fraser. He was also the leader of a congregation in Warwick and the one who convinced the slaves to erect the church.
Under his encouragement, they built the Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church with blocks of Bermuda stones from local quarries. Later, Fraser was freed and travelled to England and the West Indies as a Methodist missionary.
The Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church is located on Moonlight Lane, a street named that way in commemoration of the work made by night by the slaves to build the church. This building has an important place in the heart of the Black’s of Warwick community because it was the first time they were able to worship without having to hide.
The Black Bermudians became supporters of the Methodist Church at the beginning of the 19th century when missionary Reverend John Stephenson starting preaching to slaves. This was the reason he was jailed a year after his arrival.
Today, many of the members of the Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church congregation are in fact descendants from the same slaves who built the the original steeple and small sanctuary. The bell in the tower was added soon after the completion and the part that is now used as the church hall was added in 1967.
But that is the sanctuary that is the most interesting part of the church. Since 1827, this small structure has resisted to many storms and changing times. The cedar beams as well as the blocks and slates of Bermuda limestone are still there and stand as witnesses of the island history. This could be considered as a precursor of times because slavery was officially abolished a few years after its construction in 1834.
The importance of the Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church has resulted in its inclusion on the African Diaspora Trail, a self-guided route that invite people to discover the history of slavery in Bermuda. It is also a designated UNESCO Slave Route Project.
However, if you are planning on visiting the Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church, it is only open for the Sunday worship service at 9.30 and Wednesday prayer evening times.
Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church
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Cobb’s Hill Methodist Church – Part of Elbow Beach Cycles’ Things To Do in Bermuda series!