Coasting: The serenity of Christ Church on St. Simons Island

Christ Church, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Christ Church, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Known as one of America’s most beautiful churches, Christ Church offers a serene place of worship on St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Surrounded by trees draped with delicate Spanish moss, Christ Church, an active Episcopalian congregation, is a tribute to the work of brothers Charles and John Wesley, those involved in the initial building in 1820, and those who reconstructed it after Union forces damaged it heavily during the Civil War.

Doorway of Christ Church decorated for Christmas 2014

Doorway of Christ Church decorated for Christmas 2014

Brothers Charles and John Wesley ministered to the early colonists at Fort Frederica. And it is to the memory of those early ministers that the church owes its beginnings in the parish that dates back to 1808. John was later credited with founding the modern Methodist church while Charles is better known for the creation of hymns such as the popular “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” (Information from ExploreSouthernHistory.com)

The church that you can visit today is the 1884 rebuilt structure with beautiful stained glass windows, white facade, and elegant steeple.  Visiting in early January, we were able to see the traditional, natural Christmas decorations on railings and fences as well as on the doorway.

Natural Christmas decorations in cemetery at Christ Church, St. Simons

Natural Christmas decorations in cemetery at Christ Church, St. Simons

The cemetery is one of the oldest in Georgia, and often visitors want to see the grave of Eugenia Price, a noted local author (Beloved Invader, Lighthouse, New Moon Rising) who arrived with the notion she would write for a while in St. Simons but then fell in love with the area and became a permanent resident.

Grave in the cemetery at Christ Church

One of many headstones at Christ Church and Cemetery, St. Simons

Across the road from the church is Wesley Gardens, a two-acre plot filled with over 60 varieties of shrubs and native plants.  The centerpiece of Wesley Gardens — a towering 18-foot Celtic cross of Georgia stone — pays tribute to the work of the Revs. Charles and John Wesley.

Wesley Memorial, St. Simons Island

Wesley Memorial, St. Simons Island

We loved our time at both Wesley Gardens and Christ Church — a time to stroll quietly and almost alone.  A time to reflect among the towering trees and along the peaceful walkways. It was a different feel to a coastal town experience.  You leave the beach behind and just appreciate the almost silent time away from it all — a good thing on anyone’s Things To Do vacation list!

For more information:

Christ Church Tour of Homes (62nd annual event) will be held March 21, 2015.  For information, click here.

Website with information on Wesley Memorial Gardens and Christ Church and Cemetery: ExploreSouthernHistory.com.

Website on Eugenia Pricehttp://www.gacoast.com/navigator/ep2.html

If you’re going there:

Christ Church and Cemetery, 6329 Frederica Road, St. Simons Island, Georgia

Church can be visited Tuesday through Saturday from 2 PM to 5 PM. Cemetery and grounds can be visited sunrise to sunset Tuesday through Sunday.

To view Wesley Memorial Gardens — park at Christ Church on Frederica Road and walk across the street.

Posts in the Coasting series:

About Oh, the Places We See

Met at University of Tennessee, been married for 47 years, and still passionate about travel whether we're volunteering with Habitat Global Village, combining work at Discovery with pleasure, or just seeing the world. Hope you'll join us as we try to see it all while we can!
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16 Responses to Coasting: The serenity of Christ Church on St. Simons Island

  1. Al DeFilippo says:

    Thank you for the post, many beautiful pictures. For more information about the early Methodist leaders, I invite you to the website for the upcoming book series, The Asbury Triptych Series. The trilogy is dedicated to the leaders of the early Methodist movement in England and America as told through the life of Francis Asbury. The opening book, Black Country, does something completely unique by detailing the early preaching circuits of Francis Asbury in England before leaving for the American colonies. The website for the book series is: http://www.francisasburytriptych.com. Again, thank you for the post.

    • Thank you so very much for this information. We are Methodists and interested in the early movement in America. Your book series sounds quite interesting. Best wishes to you for much success in spreading the word about early Christian efforts in America.

  2. It sounds so peaceful there – definitely a place for quiet contemplation. Your photos are lovely – I love the christmas wreaths

  3. The Spanish Moss framing your photo of the front of the church definitely places this church in the south. The Christmas decorations reminded me of my family’s putting together Christmas decorations for the Episcopal Church in Placerville, California, another church dating back to the 1800s. –Curt

  4. Amy says:

    Really enjoyed the tour of this special place with wonderful stories. Thanks, Rusha!

  5. lns1122 says:

    When you come back 😉 in late March/early April, you’ll be smitten with the bloom of 4000+ azaleas that envelope the Wesley Garden. It is a beautiful sight as well as those everywhere on SSI. Also, a tour of the church’s interior and graveyard with a docent is also very much worth the time; the windows are priceless and the wood clad sanctuary visited by several Presidents of the USA is a living antiquity. I’m so glad that Brian Wiseman linked me to your travel writings! Kudos! from his Mom, Ellen (we’ve been SSI residents since 2010)

    • I love your way of thinking — “when you come back . . . ” I asked Bert if we could go to the Home Tour and see the azaleas. He’s thinking about it. We just may get that chance. I’d love to do that. AND take a tour of the interior. So glad Brian introduced us to each other. He is one of the finest men I know, and we love being close to them one week out of the year — our week at Pawleys!!!

  6. Wanda J says:

    Beautiful! Thanks for the bit of history, I had no idea that the Wesley brothers ministered in the states. It was fascinating to see the front view of the church then read that it had been rebuilt in 1884. The Friends church I attend, built in 1894 looks much the same. The entry, roof line, bell tower, tall windows and wide sanctuary. Except it’s much smaller.

    • Wanda, I learned a lot by searching the internet. Didn’t know about the Wesley brothers either. They were at Fort Frederica (my next post in this series) ministering to the folks there. Would love to see The Friends church you mentioned. Where do you live?

  7. lexklein says:

    I had a peaceful walk through Christ Church’s cemetery in November; it and the simple white church make for a very serene place indeed!

  8. Good photos; like the framed one of the door best.

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