Huge grant presented to St. Mary’s Anglican Church Restoration Trust
October 30, 2009
Huge grant presented to St. Mary’s Anglican Church Restoration Trust

The St. Mary’s Anglican Church Restoration Trust on the island of Bequia made significant progress in realizing its goal of restoring the historic place of worship with the help of the United States Government.{{more}}

On Sunday, October 25, United States Chargé d’Affaires at the Embassy of the United States of America to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean D. Brent Hardt presented a grant to the Trust for USD $79, 000.

The presentation took place right after a lively Sunday morning worship service.

The money will be used to replace the roof of the church, one of the most challenging aspects of the restoration work.

“I would like to congratulate the St. Mary’s Restoration Committee and Trust for its foresight and dedication to this project. The Trust’s labour of love, which began back in 2008 when it applied to the U.S. Embassy for support, is today bearing fruit,” Chargé Hardt told the packed congregation.

He added that as the United States Government’s senior representative to this region he was “pleased and honored to make the presentation”. “Occasions such as this reinforce what is at the heart of our diplomatic mission to this region — the enduring ties between our people. It also shines a light on our shared values of respect for religious freedom, for democracy, and human rights. And, it allows us to celebrate the cultural diversity of our Hemisphere and the importance we both place on respecting and embracing the strands of history and culture that are woven together in the Caribbean and the United States.”

He said the Embassy welcomed the opportunity to partner with the St. Mary’s Restoration Committee and Trust in restoring the historic treasure in Bequia for the enjoyment of people of Bequia as well as the many visitors to the island.

Chargé Hardt noted that the Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation, under which the grant was given, was an eight year initiative under which the United States Congress appropriated $3 million dollars each year to fund cultural preservation projects.

“The Eastern Caribbean is of course a region rich in cultural heritage, and so it is not surprising that a number of projects in this region — and in St. Vincent in particular — have benefitted from such grants in recent years. In 2002 a grant of US$14,430 was made to St. Vincent for a project which permitted the preservation, cataloguing and display of pre-Columbian ceramics and petro glyphs. In 2006, a subsequent grant of US$14,950 was provided to create a storage space for these objects at the former Carnegie Library building in Kingstown. Ambassador’s Fund grants have also been made to restore the Old Mill Cultural Center in Dominica (US$29,445) as well as for the enhancement of the Duquesne Bay site in Grenada (US$10,000),” he noted.

Archdeacon Charles Adams, in thanking the Chargé for the generous donation, noted that “every household in Bequia is touched by the kindness of the United States of America.” He noted that the island was inextricably linked to the U.S., with many citizens of Bequia serving in the many branches of the U.S. military or studying at U.S. institutions.

“This is a proud moment for me to say God Bless and guide the President of the United States of America and his family,” Archdeacon Adams declared.

Leading member of the St. Mary’s Restoration Trust Louise Mitchell Joseph, in thanking the U.S. for the grant, noted that when the committee applied for the grant they never imagined they would have received the amount they requested.

“With this grant you are allowing us to reclaim a piece of our history. Thanks to you and the hardworking people across America for making this gift possible,” she added.

St. Mary’s Church, a principal place of worship on Bequia, was constructed in 1829 by British settlers to the island. It replaced a much older structure which was destroyed by a hurricane.