The existing structure was built in
1884 after the previous sanctuary was
damaged by Union soldiers.
CHRIST CHURCH & CEMETERY
St. Simons Island, Georgia
Christ Church & Cemetery - St. Simons Island, Georgia
|Christ Episcopal Church
Founded in 1808, the Christ Church Parish is the
second oldest in Georgia and serves as a memorial
to the early labors of John and Charles Wesley.
Christianity in Early Georgia
Christ Church stands on Georgia's historic
St. Simons Island just up the road from Fort
Frederica National Monument. A memorial to
the role of Christianity in the founding of the
first English settlements in Georgia, it is
considered one of America's most beautiful
Still an active Episcopal Church, the historic
sanctuary is the focal point of a parish that
dates back to 1808, making it the second
oldest in Georgia. Christ Church also serves
as a reminder, however, of the much earlier
labors of the noted ministers John and
Priests of the Church of England, the Wesley
brothers came to Georgia in 1736 after John
was named the minister of the new parish of
Savannah. Charles was appointed as the
Secretary of Indian Affairs and Chaplain for
General James Oglethorpe and launched his
own American ministry in the newly founded
settlement of Frederica on St. Simons Island
during the same year.
Both Charles and John Wesley, as well as
the noted Rev. George Whitefield, preached
on St. SImons Island, ministering to the early
colonists at Fort Frederica. John become
known as the father of the modern Methodist
Church, while Charles is remembered today
for his many beautiful hymns. The Christmas
favorite "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" was
written by Rev. Charles Wesley.
The settlement at Fort Frederica had all but
faded away by the time of the American
Revolution, but settlers remained interested
in St. Simons Island and by 1808 enough
lived there to petition the Georgia legislature
for the establishment of Christ Church.
The original church building was built in
1820, but was severely damaged by Union
troops during the Civil War. The noted lumber
magnate Anson Greene Phelps Dodge took
interest in the dilapidated Christ Church
sanctuary and in 1884 oversaw its rebuilding
into the beautiful structure that stands today.
His wife had recently died and he built the
church to stand as a lasting memorial to her.
She is buried beneath the alter.
The cemetery surrounding the church is one
of the oldest in Georgia. The oldest marked
grave dates from 1803. Numerous early
political leaders and settlers of the Georgia
coast are buried there, as is the famed writer
Christ Church is located at 6329 Frederica
Road on St. Simons Island, just south of Fort
Frederica National Monument. The church is
open every Tuesday - Sunday (except Easter
and Christmas) from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. The
cemetery and grounds can be visited from
sunrise to sunset Tuesday - Sunday. The
church and grounds are closed on Mondays
Just across the road from the church are the
Wesley Gardens, where beautiful native
plants frame a stunning memorial to John
and Charles Wesley for their efforts in
Georgia and on St. Simons Island. The
monument faces the entry road to Fort
Frederica National Monument, where the
Wesley brothers once ministered to the
inhabitants of St. Simons Island and where
one of them was once attacked by a woman
wielding a pair of scissors!
Please be respectful of the beautiful, historic
and sacred grounds and structure during
your visit. Christ Church is one of the great
treasures of the South.
Click here to visit the church's website for
more information and details on services.
Sacred Soil in Georgia
The history of Christian efforts on St.
Simons Island dates back to the
1736 sermons of John and Charles
Christ Church Cemetery
The oldest marked grave dates to
1803. Burials in the historic cemetery
include author, Eugenia Price.
Tombstones in the cemetery
memorialize local youth who died on
battlefields of the Civil War.
|Copyright 2011 & 2014 by Dale Cox
All rights reserved.
Last Updated: December 16, 2014